The African American quilt makers of Gee's Bend – officially, Boykin, AL – are the inheritors of a tradition that has been recognized as one of the nation's great art forms. An arresting blend of geometric shapes, each bearing deep symbology, come together into homemade tapestries that have been exhibited around the world. The quilters and their work can be found in this deeply impoverished corner of South Alabama; visitors can learn about their art and the conditions still impacting this region.
The quilters often work from around 8:30am to 1:30pm, but you should call before visiting, as there is no guarantee anyone will be around. The phone number should connect you to someone who can help arrange a visit to the collective. Note that quilts can run as much as $10,000, although other forms of folk art are on offer.
The easiest way here, if coming from the south, is via the Gee's Bend Ferry. As the collective is separated from nearby Camden by an oxbow curve of the Alabama River, the looping drive between the two communities measures 40 miles. The car ferry, which departs five times a day, significantly shortens that distance to about 6 miles. Note that hours are always subject to change, so call ahead for crossing times.