The quilt trail is flourishing in Lincoln County through the efforts of community members, the Arts Council of Lincoln County and the Lincolnton Tourism Development Authority. These quilts aren’t hand-sewn fabric quilts but hand-painted quilt squares, usually made of wood or metal, that are hung on barns or other buildings. An established “quilt trail” is a collection of quilt blocks that are mounted at locations that can easily be seen from the road. A quilt trail isn’t an attempt to beautify the county it is stationed in but is intended to promote tourism. The first quilt trail was created in Ohio in 2001 by Donna Sue Groves, who wanted to honor her mother, who was a quilter, by painting a quilt block on their tobacco barn. The Lincoln Quilt Trail, which has taken approximately a year to come together, was started for almost the same reason as the one in Ohio.
Barn quilts are meeting their fabric cousins at a new exhibit at the Arts Council of Lincoln County galleries at the Lincoln Cultural Center, “It’s All About Quilts.” The exhibit runs through June.
When Angela Lovelace moved to Lincolnton, she connected with Deanna Williams-McGinnis, the executive director of the Arts Council of Lincoln County. She also got onboard with a steering committee working towards revamping Main Street in Lincolnton. The quilt trail was one of the steering committee projects that Lovelace got involved in early on.
The original six barn quilts were hung at the Lincoln Economic Development Association, the Cultural Center, the Chamber of Commerce, the Lincolnton Fire Department, the main library on West Main Street and at Betty Ross Park. Other quilts were then added for a total of 17, with 10 more to be added shortly, all of which are unique to the location they are hung on.
“My goal is 30,” Lovelace said. “I’m on a quilting mission.”
To follow the Lincoln County quilt trail, download the Linc app. Information about each quilt is included in the app. The community is welcome to purchase or paint barn quilts and add them to their property. To be added to the Lincoln County quilt trail, email firstname.lastname@example.org for an application.
The quilts, both fabric and barn, that are part of the exhibit at the Lincoln Cultural Center have been donated by community members. They all have their own stories, which are detailed on a card attached to the quilt. There are more than 50 quilts on display.
Lovelace has several quilts in the show and as she told the stories about them, she teared up.
“There’s so much history in the stitches and the detail,” she said.
There will be an open reception for the show on Thursday June 13, from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. The reception and exhibit are free to attend.
A barn quilt painting class will be held at the Lincoln Cultural Center on Saturday, June 15 from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. The cost is $40 per person.