A History of Quilts planned July 20

A History of Quilts with Jim Gatling will be held at 5:30 p.m. Friday, July 20 at the Rialto Gallery in Downtown Morrilton.

The evening includes a quilt show, lecture and dinner.

The Rialto Gallery is at 215 East Broadway.

Tickets are $35 in advance. All proceeds benefit the Rialto Community Arts Center. Tickets can be purchased at rialtomorrilton.com/ or at the Morrilton Chamber of Commerce, 115 East Broadway.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for the quilt exhibit. Dinner will be served at 6 p.m. followed by a lecture on the History of Quilts.

Gatling was born in Memphis on July 22, 1951. He grew up on the family farm in Forrest City and graduated from Forrest City High School in 1969. He was a broom maker, basket weaver and relief potter at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Mo., in 1969 and 1970.

Gatling graduated from State College of Arkansas in Conway with a BSE in art and music in 1973. He taught public school art and stitchery for the South Conway County School District at Morrilton High School for 30 years.

After 25 years working nights and weekends, he retired from the Petit Jean Country Headlight newspaper in Morrilton where he was a photographer, school and social writer, ad builder and paste-up artist. After 11 years, he recently retired from teaching art part-time at the Sacred Heart Catholic School in Morrilton.

Gatling is the only quilting teacher sanctioned by the Arkansas State Department of Education. He has taught more than 2,000 children art, needle arts and quilting at Morrilton High School. Gatling has been the artistic director, set designer and costume maker for more than 150 school and plays, musicals and civic productions.

For 30 years, the stitchery students of SCCSD have made quilts under the direction of Gatling. The Morrilton School Quilt Collection has more than 50 quilts of all sizes. The award-winning collection has been recognized in local, state and international quilt shows. He is an avid collector of antique quilts and maker of original art quilts. He has had his quilts in numerous exhibitions and continues to lecture throughout the South.

Gatling has been nominated twice for Morrilton’s Citizen of the Year and nominated for one of President Bush’s “Points of Light” for his community involvement. He has been nominated six times as an “Arkansas Treasure.” He is a founding member of the Arts Council and Our Town Players and Our Town Singers. He was the South Conway County Teacher of the Year in 1988. He is the past president of the Arkansas Quilters Guild in Little Rock and is a member of the Central Arkansas Quilters in Conway.

He is the father of one son, Blake, and has a daughter-in-law, Cindy and is the grandfather of Maggie Nicole and Will. He is the son of the late William C. “Bill” and Dorothy Dean “Dot” Gatling.