Fifteen new quilt block murals have been created and installed in Somerset County. The murals are located 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 of 2021, the HPCC 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 says, “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 barns 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.
Over 600 children in five schools were taught and since the pandemic, they have pivoted to community based workshops and have worked with close to 200 people between the ages of 5 and 91.
The largest murals are 8 foot by 8 foot and are hanging on the LaCasse Bat Factory on Madison Avenue in Skowhegan and on the old Skowhegan Grange on route 201. The
HPCC plans to put out a comprehensive map guide to include the new barn quilts.
Currently, there are 30 barn quilt murals located in northern Franklin County and the HPCC has plans to add twenty more to southern Franklin. The trail now spans two
counties and is part of the American Barn Quilt Trail network.
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 12 cultural organizations that have collaborated to create the Maine High Peaks Arts and Heritage Loop Map and Guide and five kiosks in the region.
More info on HPCC at highpeaksmaine.org.