In past posts, we’ve discussed American quilting as an art form, as well as the broad range and psychic impact of public art. Now, thanks to Governing magazine, we learn of the growth of the quilt-barn movement.
Apparently this grass roots art movement began in 2001 and has spread to 16 states and 900 barns, adopted by rural communities as a way to honor the craft of quilt making and farming expressed through public art. Ohio, Iowa and Kentucky have over 250 in each state. Many barns are part of “quilt trails” that map dozens of barns per trail that sightseers can follow and enjoy.
The barns are painted in a variety of manners. Some communities hire local artists, and others are painted by clubs or high school art classes that seize the opportunity to volunteer to help create public art. Frequently a business with a truck with a hoist donates the crew and equipment needed to place the square, which is usually painted on two 4 x 8 sheets of outdoor plywood attached to a frame.
How to explain the rapid growth of the quilt-barn movement? The squares not only honor the wife of every farmer where they appear, they also recognize the rural heritage that has been a part of the fabric of America since Colonial times.
Quilt barn trails now in 16 states add new color to fall. Grassroots art movement now appears on 900 barns.
Barn Quilts Give a Shot in the Arm to Agritourism through Art, History and Nostalgia