, Newburyport, MA


May 23, 2013

Flagged for Boston

West Newbury quilter helps organize special exhibit at Museum of Fine Arts


Campbell, who plans to attend the exhibit this weekend, created tutorials online so that each flag would have the same dimensions. She also suggested patterns and color schemes to help sewers get started, “though people deviate,” Friend said.

The flags feature everything from the “B Strong” message to running themes to birds to hearts to letters that spell out words when the pieces are strung together. A flag from Australia includes a kangaroo with “Hop{e}” below it.

“Someone spelled out Boston Strong with one letter per flag,” Friend said. “There are a lot of sports-themed flags, too.”

Friend, a former curator for the Wheaton College Permanent Art Collection, has been receiving the flags at her West Newbury home. She had more than 1,300 as of Tuesday and was expecting to get at least 1,500. The flags come from 44 U.S. states and 15 countries, she said.

“I guess I’m not surprised at the number of people participating,” she said. “They’re a generous and responsive bunch. It’s been rewarding to see them all participate.”

Friend created five flags for the exhibit, including one with the “B Strong” logo and another featuring an image of the Zakim Bridge. She said organizing and advertising the project and opening up all of the boxes has been time-consuming but worthwhile.

“In times of tragedy, it’s nice to have a way to focus my energy and not think about the dangers of the world quite so much,” said Friend, who has three children.

The flags will be hung in the museum’s Shapiro Family Courtyard from May 25 through July 7.

The exhibit is part of the “Boston I Love” Memorial Day Community Weekend, with free admission for visitors this Saturday through Monday. The museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. each day, and donation boxes will be set up for The One Fund Boston.

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