SKWOHEGAN — The High Peaks Creative Council is collaborating with Wesserunsett Arts Council on a project to expand the American Barn Quilt Trail into Somerset County. The first barn quilt trail was created in Adams County, Ohio, in 2001 by Donna Sue Groves wanted to honor her mother, a well-known quilter by painting a quilt block on their barn. Soon after, twenty quilt blocks were painted on barns in Adams County. The project had wide appeal and proved to be beneficial to the community by bringing tourism and economic development. Today, there are barn quilt trails in more than half of the states in the United States.
The HPCC has created and installed thirty quilt block murals in north Franklin County. The artwork was created through a series of workshops in the local school districts and through community-based workshops for people of all ages. The motivation for this project was to find a way to support the mission of the HPCC. The stated mission is to connect regional arts and cultural organizations around creative public projects that benefit the quality of life and support resiliency in the local economy.
The Somerset County barn quilts will be created at a series of free workshops. Participants will learn the art of making barn quilt murals and help create public art for the community! Each participant will learn skills and techniques to create exterior murals of American quilt block designs. Finished pieces will be displayed on area roadside barns and grange halls. Workshops will strictly follow CDC guidelines. All ages are welcome, children must be accompanied by an adult (except at the Skowhegan workshops which is designed as an after-school children’s activity). RSVP is required as space is limited. The schedule is as follows:
Lakewood Golf Course Clubhouse in Madison, Maine: May 27 and 28 from 9 – 11 a.m. and 12 – 2 p.m.
Runamuk Acres Conservation Farm in New Portland, Maine: June 1 from 9 – 11 a.m. and 12 – 2 p.m.
East Madison Grange in Madison, Maine: June 3 and 4 from 9 – 11 a.m. and 12 – 2 p.m.
Solon Hotel in Solon, Maine: June 10 and 11 from 9 – 11 a.m. and 12 – 2 p.m.
The SPACE on the River in Skowhegan, Maine: May 26, June 2 and 9 from 2:30 – 4:30 p.m. (This is available as an after school kids’ workshop).
The HPCC participated in the American for The Arts “Arts and Economic Prosperity Study 5” and found that the non-profit arts and cultural industry generates $1,755,237 in annual economic activity in the Maine High Peaks region of North Franklin County. “This research provides data indicating that the arts and cultural industry has significant impact in our rural communities. Here in north Franklin County, the cultural sector provides employment opportunities, supports businesses, attracts tourism, and lengthens the time visitors choose to stay here” said Reinholt. The nationwide study was organized by Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education. “We are hoping the expansion of the barn quilt trail will enhance cultural destination tourism, increase economic activity and increase community pride. Linking America’s pastime of quilting with rural agricultural buildings celebrates two very integral parts of American culture together” Reinholt said. For more information on the project please contact Saskia Reinholt at 207-313-4878.