IQA is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of the art of quilting, the attainment of public recognition for quilting as an art form, and the advancement of the state of the art throughout the world. It was founded in 1979 by Karey Bresenhan, Nancy O'Bryant, and their mothers, Jewel Patterson (1910-2002), and Helen O'Bryant (1914-2005).
IQA supports many projects and activities, including a grant program, which funds research and other quilt-related projects, and an annual Judged Shows of members' work. Quilts: A World of Beauty is held at International Quilt Festival/Houston every fall. In 2016, a total of $96,750 in non-purchase cash prizes will be awarded to winners, with travel/hotel prizes going to the top eight winners.