Quilt Challenging Sexual Violence Heads to National Mall May 31-June 2


The Monument Quilt displayed at Ohio University in 2017


Hannah Brancato is an artist and educator based in Baltimore. She is co-founder of FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture, an art activist effort to upset the dominant culture of rape and promote a counter-culture of consent. FORCE’s largest project is the Monument Quilt, an on-going collection of over 2500 stories from survivors of rape and abuse. Written, stitched, and painted onto red fabric, these stories literally blankets city and town centers, creating and demanding public space to heal. In Spring 2019, in a culminating display, the Quilts will blanket the National Mall to spell “Not Alone.”

Brancato was a 2015 OSI-Baltimore Community Fellow to launch FORCE’s Baltimore based survivor collective, Gather Together. She began working with survivors of domestic and sexual violence in 2008, when she established Advocate Through Art at the House Of Ruth Maryland, an awareness campaign by and for domestic violence survivors.

In addition to her work with FORCE, Brancato is currently faculty at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). As a white professor of art, her core focus is on the role of visual culture in resisting structural racism and rape culture. In all of her work, she challenges viewers and participants to make connections between personal experience and social injustices. Hannah earned her MFA in Community Art from MICA in 2011.




FORCE is an artist and activist collective that was founded in 2010 to create a more public, challenging conversation and to face the realities of sexual violence. FORCE’s largest project to date is the Monument Quilt, which began in 2013, and will culminate May 31- June 2, 2019 in a display that will literally blanket the National Mall, spelling out Not Alone and creating a healing space by and for survivors. To date, over 3,000 survivors and allies have created 4×4’ red quilts squares, and we will continue collecting these quilts until December of this year.


One of the 4-foot x 4-foot squares making up the Monument Quilt

The Monument Quilt creates and demands space to heal, and it resists a singular narrative about sexual violence by lifting up stories that show how white supremacy and rape culture are interconnected. The big, culminating event next year will be a national convening of survivors, and a space for organizing together. It is an  essential act of resistance against a presidential administration that not only neglects and ignores, but also perpetrates and condones abuse.

Since 2014, BMC has provided a space for FORCE to build our vision, our community, and our action plan for making the Monument Quilt a reality. Our connection with BMC began in 2014, when FORCE was invited to be part of a Focus Residency on gender and sexual violence. The relationship deepened in 2016 when BMC hosted FORCE’s annual leadership retreat, a weekend convening of leaders from across the country and Mexico who guide the vision of FORCE’s work. Individuals from FORCE have also spent time there during the regular month-long residencies for their independent art practice, before and after FORCE’s involvement with BMC—including the co-founder Hannah Brancato, current collective member Saida Agostini, Leadership Team members Winter Miller, Liz Ensz, and Jadeylnn Stahl. FORCE was co-founded by Hannah Brancato and Rebecca Nagle and is now led collectively by Hannah Brancato, Saida Agostini, Shanti Flagg and Charnell Covert.

Not Alone: Quilt Challenging Sexual Violence Heads to National Mall May 31-June 2

One of the 4-foot x 4-foot squares making up the Monument Quilt

As we lead up to this huge, culminating event, this fall is our 3rd annual Hike for Healing event. Our November 4 Hike for Healing is a fundraiser where we are asking people all across the country to organize a hike or walk to honor survivors on our healing journey. Through the walk we are raising funds for the  display of the Monument Quilt on the National Mall. Like the Monument Quilt, Hike for Healing is bringing public visibility to the prevalence of sexual and domestic violence and the needs of survivors, while focusing on our healing. When too often efforts at visibility actually cause harm to survivors, FORCE remains focused on events being designed to support us.

We invite the BMC community to support FORCE’s vision for the Monument Quilt on the National Mall! By walking, donating, or organizing a hike, you can help us occupy space for survivors in DC as an act of resistance to rape culture. Learn more at hike4healing.org