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While Western North Carolina is well-known for its barn quilts, the original barn quilt was actually created in Adams County, Ohio by a lady named Donna Sue Groves. Groves had the idea of painting a barn square as a way to honor her mother and her Appalachian Heritage. Groves’ work with the Ohio Art Council inspired her to expand this original vision and the idea to create a driving barn quilt trail art tour came alive! Groves thought it would be neat to create 20 barn quilt squares that could be hung along a countryside driving trail. Several barn owners were excited to be a part of this project, and thus work began on the very first barn quilt trail! Soon after this Barn Quilt Trail’s inauguration, other counties across the country were motivated to create their own barn quilt trails. Because of this, barn quilt trails spread across the United States.
Today, North Carolina, specifically Western North Carolina, has one of the highest barn quilt concentrations in the United States! In this area, you can easily select a barn quilt trail, view folk art, and learn art and regional history from the comfort of your own car. In fact, barn quilts are so commonplace in this area, that North Carolina lesson plans have been created to teach students about this local art phenomenon.
In Alexander County, Taylorsville resident Reita Bryan had the idea of creating a community barn quilt mural project. Taylorsville Town Councilman, Jack Simms, took on the role as Community Barn Quilt Project Coordinator. This collaborative project was made possible by many people coming together to make this vision come to fruition. Artists, installers, and sponsors all worked as a team to create this impressive work on the side of the Alexander County Services building.
At the Hiddenite Arts and Heritage Museum, we are committed to bringing arts and heritage programming to our community. Barn Quilts are most certainly an art form that is readily recognized in North Carolina. Therefore, we are thrilled to offer regular barn quilt painting workshops with instructor Carol Mitchell! Carol Mitchell and her husband Steve are owners and operators of Mountainside Farms in Alexander County. In her workshop, Mitchell guides students as they create their own 2’x2′ painted barn quilt squares. We hope you will join us in creating a barn quilt square of your own!