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Miss FAMU Quilt Initiative Tells the Story of FAMU
Miss FAMU 2011-2012 NaKena Cromartie’s initiative, “Truly FAMU: Listening is Art,” will give FAMUans the opportunity to express their love for FAMU by helping to design a quilt.

April 17, 2012

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - For Miss Florida A&M University (FAMU) 2011-2012 NaKena Cromartie, a quilt gives her a glimpse into the lives and creativity of African-American quilters and other cultures.

This month, Cromartie is launching a project that will give FAMUans the opportunity to express and profess their love for FAMU in tribute to the university’s 125th anniversary celebration.”

“Quilts are deeper than just utilizing them to give warmth to a body during cold times,” she said. “It is more than just putting a few stitches and patches together.”

Through Cromartie’s initiative, “Truly FAMU: Listening is Art,” FAMUans can design a quilt square that is a reflection of them. The quilt square can be as simple as writing your name and graduation date or as elaborate as putting designs and adding different ornaments, such as paint, foam stickers, pipe cleaners and ribbon.  She added that the project is important to her because she is helping to create a way for the student body to leave something significant behind after their time on “the Hill” like quilters in the past.

“During my campaign as Miss Florida A&M University, I wanted to offer a way for students to connect with FAMU and share their love for the institution,” said Cromartie.  “Keeping those things in mind, I decided to use my talent and passion for quilting to make a quilt that all Rattlers can claim a piece of.  According to Cromartie, the quilt will be completed in time for FAMU’s 125th Celebration during Homecoming 2012, at which time it will be presented to the university and placed in the care of the Black Archives Museum.

At the age of 12, Cromartie was exposed immediately to the art and beauty of the quilting world through a community center in St. Petersburg, Fla. called Youth Arts Corps.

“Through the works of Youth Arts Corps, my untouched quilting potential became apparent once I became a quilting assistant,” she said. “Within this role, I had the opportunity to assist in the facilitation of four-classed filled with 15 girls where we engaged in teaching techniques and the basics of quilt and garment making.   After assisting this delightful program for five years in the capacity as an assistant, I was then offered the opportunity to become the instructor of the classes I once worked.  As humble and ecstatic as I was to take on this enhancing prospect, I knew I had lots of work ahead of me.  Rising to the occasion, I gained the ability to facilitate and reveal the likes of quilting to more than 60 young girls.”

Cromartie is a spring 2011 graduate of FAMU where she earned her bachelor of science in accounting from the School of Business and Industry. Currently, Cromartie is pursuing a master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting.  After graduate school, Cromartie said she is looking forward to taking the Certified Public Accountant examination and working with Deloitte in January 2013.

“With humility and dedication, the impossible is possible,” is what Cromartie said her quilt would say. “I would tell the story of a first-generation Rattler that came to FAMU for three sole purposes—to become an educated black woman, to gain friendship among college women and to graduate with a job opportunity.”

Individuals who are interested in participating in the initiative can retrieve and decorate a quilt square on The “SET,” which is located near the Efferson Manning Student Union Building, every Friday.


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