Ian Reinholt on the Genie S-40 at the Avon Community Hall. Photo by Paula Kane

Paula Kane

Mary Dunham, Avon Municipal Clerk; Saskia and Ian Reinholt and older daughter, Aliyah. Paula Kane

The finished product, one of four Maine State Bicentennial commemorative quilt murals created and installed recently in North Franklin County. Paula Kane

AVON — Two weeks ago Wednesday, folks traveling along Route 4 past the Avon Community Hall might have experienced a bit of distracted driving. Between the man on the Genie S-40 high above a small group of curious looky-loos gathered in the parking lot below and the very large, brightly-colored piece of artwork he was hoisting into place, it would have been hard to miss the fact that something unusual was going on.

Ian Reinholt of Phillips was the man on the Genie, the use of which was donated by Maine Mountain Timber Frames/Central Maine Frames, conveniently located right next door to the Avon Community Hall. After maneuvering the bright blue telescopic boom to exactly the right point, Reinholt precisely centered and attached struts directly beneath the roof’s apex. Returning to the ground, he next transferred the first of two very large, brightly-painted panels to the enclosed platform atop the lift. Then, up he went again, performing a balancing act that brought nervous gasps from his audience below at each sway or wobble of the panel.

Once that first piece was firmly fixed to the struts, Reinholt repeated the process with the second half – and voila! One of the newest additions to the Maine High Peaks Barn Quilt Trail was in place. Other commemorative quilt murals recently installed may be viewed at High Peaks Artisan Guild in Kingfield, Fotter’s Market in Eustis, and the Pratt Farm in Strong.

The following is from a press release by Sakia Haugen-Reinholt:

Four Maine State Bicentennial commemorative quilt murals have been created and installed in North Franklin County… The High Peaks Creative Council (HPCC) received a Maine Arts Commission Bicentennial project grant to create the artwork. Originally the plan was to work with the local school districts to have students paint them under the instruction of teaching artist, Saskia Haugen-Reinholt. (Because of) the pandemic, the HPCC revamped the project to host small physically distanced community workshops following CDC guidelines.

Twelve workshops were hosted over six days at municipal community buildings in Eustis, Kingfield, and Avon. Reinholt and teaching assistant, Jessica O’Brien, instructed community participants on painting and design techniques. Each participant designed and painted their own crazy quilt block.

“Crazy quilts were fashionable in the 19th century and were a practical way to use up scraps of fabric left over from making their own clothes. The quilts were often backed with animal feed sacks or flour sacks. The HPCC chose to base the Maine Bicentennial murals on these 19th century designs so that community members could have the artistic freedom to design their own part of the mural. We also felt that the style of quilt strongly represents parts of Maine’s heritage, particularly the use it up, wear it out, or do without mentality that still permeates our culture,” says Reinholt.

Actual crazy quilts, each over 100 years old, on loan from local historical societies, were on site during some of the workshops for study and to provide inspiration.
The HPCC was formed in 2012 and is a nonprofit networking organization with a mission 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 HPCC network includes twelve cultural organizations that have collaborated to create the Maine High Peaks Arts and Heritage Loop Map & Guide and five kiosks in the region. They plan on reprinting their map this fall to include the barn quilts.

“Currently, the organization is working toward a goal of becoming a sustainable organization that will be around longer than the people who are running it. For this to happen, the HPCC needs to build an endowment,” says David Dixon, the HPCC treasurer.

The HPCC initial endowment goal is $25,000, to be managed through the Maine Community Foundation. Reinholt says that the organization is hoping that the people who enjoy the barn quilt trail and the people who have received barn quilt murals will make a donation to this fund. A book documenting the barn quilt project is envisioned as an additional fund raising project for 2021. To find out more information on the trail and the HPCC, please visit www.highpeaksmaine.org.

Comments are not available on this story.