The Quilt Trail of America is a unique grassroots public art movement that spans the entire country with hundreds of organized "trails". It began ten years ago with an 'ugly' old tobacco barn on Maxine Groves' property in southern Ohio.
The idea of painting a giant quilt block on the face of that 'ugly' old barn was Maxine's daughter's. Donna Sue Groves wanted to dress up the barn and honor her mother, who is a master quilter.
Donna Sue's vision didn't stop with one ugly barn with a fancy new accessory. She envisioned an invisible clothesline of quilts that would span the country; and so it does.
Here in Osceola County, Michigan, it took just a couple of individuals with a passion for the project, some brushes, tape and quarts of paint to join the trail. We started painting just three years ago and to date, there are 91 eight- and four-foot boldly painted quilt blocks on barns, businesses, homes and public buildings throughout the county, inching outside the county in a few cases.
The backbone of the OQT was sponsored by a grant from Great Lakes Energy to paint 12 blocks. Since then, a grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs sponsored 15 blocks on public buildings - post offices, schools, and libraries. The rest are host-purchased blocks.
The Osceola Quilt Trail celebrates our
rural life and heritage and involves our communities in making public art. Acknowledged as a force in agri-tourism, the OQT brings folks in off the highways and through our small towns to explore the places we love.
Snail Trail Block on Maxine Grove's Tobacco Barn in southern Ohio
Located at 3606 20Mile Road, Marion, Michigan, this Flying High Nine Patch quilt block represents the farm hosts well - an avid aviator who builds and flies small airplanes, and his wife who has made "more nine patch quilts than she can count" for family and friends.