by Bridget Esangga
Gail Hodges’ passion for fiber arts is rooted in family and home. As a child, she watched her mother, grandmother, and aunt sew all of the clothes for their families and make quilts, working with beautiful fabrics they collected.
She followed in their footsteps, always working with textiles as she grew and studied home economics and liberal arts at Kansas State University. In 1968 she moved to Chicago with her husband and soon after dedicated herself full-time to raising her four children and sewing, crocheting, and doing needlepoint in addition to arranging flowers. When her family moved overseas for eight years, living in London and Tokyo, she studied the textiles of each culture. “My whole life, there’s been fabric involved,” she explains.
It was only natural that as a member of SAIC’s Board of Governors, Hodges decided to form the Fiber and Material Studies Council to support the department and its faculty. In 2014, she created the Wilson/Livingstone Graduate Fellowship, offering a partial merit scholarship to one student each year. The goal is to continue to build the fund until it provides one full scholarship a year. The fellowship was named after Professors Anne Wilson and Joan Livingstone who guided the program to its number-one rank with U.S. News and World Report.
Helping the students find their voice and create boundary- pushing artwork is what makes it worth it, according to Hodges. “We have two outstanding fellows so far. And the work that our graduates are doing now, out in the world, is just so fantastic,” she says. “I’m committed to the importance of the arts in the world, it’s absolutely essential to a civilization.”
Learn more ways to give at campaign.saic.edu.