A new quilt block mural hangs on the LaCasse Bat Factory at 4 Madison Ave., in Skowhegan. Contributed photo

Fifteen new quilt block murals have been created and installed in Lexington Township, New Portland, Anson, Embden, Madison, East Madison, Solon and Skowhegan.

The High Peaks Creative Council received a Community Building grant from the Maine Community Foundation and the Jean and King Cummings Fund to support this public art project. In May, the council hosted nine days of free community workshops following CDC guidelines.

Workshops were held at the Solon Hotel, the East Madison Grange, SPACE on the River in Skowhegan, and the Madison Lakewood Clubhouse. Saskia Reinholt and teaching assistant Jessica O’Brien instructed community participants on the history of barn paintings, drafting designs, color theory, brush handling, and painting techniques.

Reinholt said, “Barn quilts connect two parts of American culture, quilt block patterns that were designed and handed down through generations of families and rural agriculture. There are over 7,000 barn quilts in North America; it is the largest grassroots public art movement in the history of our country. We chose to bring this project to our rural communities to celebrate an art form born from American culture and to teach geometry, color theory, and painting techniques to people of all ages. Our first round we taught over 600 children in five schools. Since the pandemic, we pivoted to community based workshops and have worked with close to 200 people between the ages of 5 and 91. This project is about community building and bringing art into the everyday landscape,” according to a news release from the Wesserunsett Arts Council.

The largest murals are 8-by-8 feet, and hang on the LaCasse Bat Factory on Madison Avenue in Skowhegan and on the old Skowhegan Grange on Route 201. The council plans to put out a comprehensive map guide to include the new barn quilts. There are 30 barn quilt murals located in northern Franklin County, and the council has plans to add 20 more to southern Franklin. The trail now spans two counties and is part of the American Barn Quilt Trail network.

A book documenting the barn quilt project is envisioned as a fundraising project for 2022.

For more information about the trail and the council, visit highpeaksmaine.org.


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