Betty Leacraft is a shape shifter of fibers and textiles blending techniques, processes such as contemporary art quilt making, fabric dyeing/painting, improvisational fabric printing, mixed media and installations. Her art making is informed and driven by
cultural traditions of Africa, the African Diaspora, global textiles, and African American Classical Music (Jazz) addressing themes of identity, heritage, nature, ritual, cultural preservation, and the human condition. As a teaching artist she has created community based opportunities for underserved, under resourced individuals/communities through hands on, interactive, intergenerational fiber and textile projects. Betty is the recipient of numerous grants, awards, honors including the Leeway Transformation Award, Leeway Windows of Opportunity Award, and three Leeway Art and Change Grants. Art works have been exhibited regionally, nationally, and internationally; contemporary art quilts are published in several books authored by Dr. Carolyn L. Mazloomi, independent scholar, historian, and Founding Director, Women of Color Quilters Network (WCQN).
Selected Awards, Honors, Grants
Leeway Foundation Art and Change Grants (’16, ’14, and ‘10”); Leeway Transformation Award (’11); Portrait of Excellence Award, William J, Harvey III, Malawi Mission Award (’11); Thomas Aiken Encore Award, South Jersey Cultural Alliance (’04); Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Residency Grants (’02, ’00, ’98, ’97, ’96); Leeway Windows of Opportunity Award (’99).
International Quilt Convention Africa, (Johannesburg, South Africa); Dei Center for the Study of Contemporary Art (Ghana, West Africa); Museo de Arte Moderna (Salvador-Bahia, Brazil); Leeway Foundation (PA); The Mint Museum of Art and Design (NC); National Museum of Art, Renwick Gallery (DC); Museum of the African Diaspora (CA); Institute of Contemporary Art (PA); Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History (MI); Michigan State University (MI); Philadelphia Guild of Handweavers (PA); National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center (OH); African American Museum of Philadelphia (PA).
Co-Curator with Dindga McCannon, Generations 7: Reflections on the “ISMS,” Racism, Sexism, Ageism; Guest curator (‘18), Warm Spirits: Contemporary African American Quilters, African American Museum of Philadelphia, PA (’08); Co curator with Julia Lopez, Speaking In Our Own Tongues: Latino and African American Artists, A New Beginning, Taller Puertorriqueno, Inc., Philadelphia, PA (’92).