Shelly Zegart expresses her love of quilts through collecting, curating exhibitions, and sharing her knowledge through books and lectures. Shelly is involved in a number of community projects. Her most recent effort is the Kentucky to the World initiative. Its mission is to elevate the cultural and intellectual reputation of Kentucky globally by showcasing outstanding artists, athletes, authors, and musicians with ties to the Commonwealth.
Can’t quite get the knack of…
Actually making a quilt! I work with my mouth, not with my hands. I love quilts because they are women’s history. Women’s quilts gave them their voices and their power.
What inspires you?
People who are intellectually curious, looking for ways to make the world better. Not just following the same path as others. Things thought of and brought into a reality. Just having the idea isn’t enough.
What have you accepted about yourself?
I am much calmer about small things now. My husband says if it’s not life-threatening, it’s only details. I have a strong personality and people may think that I’m disagreeing with them, but actually if your idea is better than mine, that’s fine with me.
It’s best to be with…
People who have jumped into the stream at different times.
What makes you angry?
What’s going on in this country right now. Climate change. I’m not optimistic.
What do you like about Louisville?
I’m excited about our new mayor. I hope for more opportunities for the underserved areas of the city, but really, it’s a great community and people are becoming aware of what it needs.
I have a collection of…
Children’s small antique chairs. I love the shape and form of them.
Most treasured possession?
I’d like to keep in mind that really all of my possessions are just borrowed, but I guess the things I would cherish most are from my family.
How do you keep your spirits up?
I look at each day as a gift. Every day is a birthday, right? I read a lot, exercise, have a good group of friends and colleagues, and I do my best to stay positive.
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
Learned from your parents?
My dad was a legislator and judge. If you respect who you are, others will respect you. Treat others with respect and unconditional love.
An artistic outlook on life?
Keep your eyes open to the world and ideas and visuals of the world.
I admire artists who can incorporate social responsibility into what they do, who look at things from a different perspective. Seeing people doing something different. I love that.
By Lucy M. Pritchett | Illustration by August Northcut
P.S. You might also like Susan Rademacher: What I Know Now