The City of Conneaut’s railroad, tree, maritime and agricultural heritages are celebrated in four barn quilts on the Conneaut City School District’s buildings.
The 4-by-4-foot barn quilts are the work of students in the Art 3 and 4 sections at Conneaut High School.
“In Art 3 and 4, there is much more community involvement,” says Stephanie Chase, their instructor. “This is the class that typically goes out and does things in the community.” Examples of their involvement include painting Safety Town buildings and the blades of snow plows. A current project is hand-painting historical photos from the collection of the Conneaut Area Historical Society.
The barn quilts resonated with Chase and the students because of the color and design decisions that must be made when planning a barn quilt. The quilts are painted onto high-quality sign board using masking techniques that require multiple applications of painter’s tape and coats of paint. Rough edges that remain
“It took a lot of patience,” Chase says. “It was a good team-building project.”
Chase became interested in barn quilts through a class that she, Becky Gaugh and Glenda Betteridge took at the Conneaut Arts Center. The class was taught by Chris Angerman, co-founder of the county’s barn quilt trail. That lead to a discussion about placing a barn quilt on each one of the district’s buildings.
There was precedent for barn quilt painting by art students. In 2014 CHS art students painted one of the first barn quilts to be installed in the county, at Ramblin Rose Alpaca Farm, owned by Terry and Glenda Lowe. That project was a freehand quilt in the Ohio Rose pattern. The project was supervised by Chase and painted by Art Club students.
For the four-quilt project, the artists received a grant of $250 from the Conneaut Quilters Guild to purchase the sign stock and other supplies that would be needed. Arlene Klborn, a former arts center teacher, and Becky Gaugh researched patterns and made suggestions. The blocks chosen were Railroad Crossing, Tree of Life (Conneaut has a Tree City USA designation), Corn and Beans and Mariners Compass.
Brian Chase delivered the raw stock to the school and Matt Pape cut down the panels to the proper size and prepared them for painting. Matt Kitchen and Dave Schreiber had the honor of hanging the completed works. Paint was provided, in part, from the Barn Quilt Trail Steering Committee’s paint bank; Angerman and Betteridge provided consultation.
Students who worked on the barn quilt were Shelby McCartney, Silvia Furman, Morgan Holtzman, Lauren Kardohely, Alexis Ortiz, Abbey Lundgren, Mackenzie Carraher, Tatum Sanford, Katheryn Pyle, Kirysten Whitbread, Casey and Carrie Bambarger, Taylor Gritzer, Courtney Clark and Rylie Pyrately.
The students say they selected colors that would “pop” and provided good contrast with each other and the background of the buildings. They say the project got them thinking about making smaller versions, 1-by-1 feet, for their dorm rooms.
The barn quilts can be seen at Chestnut Street entrance to the high school, the front of the Lakeside Primary building on Chestnut and the middle and elementary buildings at Gateway Avenue.