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Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Gees Bend Quilter Sues Promoter

Mobile, AL, June 6, 2007 -- A Newhouse News Service story published today in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Gees Bend, Alabama, quilter Annie Mae Young is suing Atlanta-based Tinwood Ventures and its owners, William Arnett and sons, for a larger share of profits generated by commercial use of her work. The Gees Bend quilts gained national recognition partly through the promotional efforts of Tinwood, and have been displayed in major art museums across the U.S., including Houston and Atlanta.

Young, suing in federal court in Selma, Alabama, claims that despite promises of royalties, she "never received a penny" from a wide variety of enterprises which used designs from the quilts for everything from postage stamps to $5,000 rugs. An attorney for Tinwood Ventures stated that the quilters were "fairly compensated" for the rights to the work, which are retained by Tinwood and leased out in turn to a variety of manufacturers, among them Kathy Ireland Worldwide Corp.

Young claims not to have been aware the designs would be used in anything other than a book, and is suing for compensatory and punitive damages for "commercial misappropriation" of her work and likeness. Tinwood's Arnett has been a long-time promoter of outsider art, and has previously been involved in disputes with artists he has brought to public attention. He was unavailable for comment.

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