AVON – Two weeks ago Wednesday, people traveling along Highway 4 past the Avon Community Hall might have been a little distracted while driving. Between the man on the Genie S-40 above a small group of curious curious people gathered in the parking lot below and the very large, brightly colored work of art he hoisted into place, it would have been difficult to see. miss the fact that something unusual was happening.
Ian Reinholt of Phillips was the man aboard the Genie, whose use was donated by Maine Mountain Timber Frames / Central Maine Frames, conveniently located right next to the Avon Community Hall. After maneuvering the bright blue telescopic boom to exactly the right point, Reinholt precisely centered and secured the struts directly under the top of the roof. Back on the ground, he then transferred the first of two very large, brightly painted panels to the closed platform at the top of the elevator. Then, he climbed back up, performing a balancing act that caused nervous gasps from his audience below with each swing or swing of the panel.
With the first piece securely attached to the spacers, Reinholt repeated the process with the second half – and voila! One of the more recent additions to the Maine High Peaks Barn Quilt Trail was in place. Other recently installed commemorative quilt murals can be seen at the High Peaks Craftsmen Guild in Kingfield, Fotter Market in Eustis, and Pratt Farm in Strong.
The following is taken from a press release by Sakia Haugen-Reinholt:
Four Maine State Bicentennial Memorial Murals were created and installed in North Franklin County… The High Peaks Creative Council (HPCC) received a Bicentennial Project Grant from the Maine Arts Commission to create the work of art. Originally, the plan was to work with local school districts to have students paint them under the direction of artist teacher, Saskia Haugen-Reinholt. (Due to) the pandemic, the HPCC reorganized the project to accommodate small, physically remote community workshops in accordance with CDC guidelines.
Twelve workshops were held over six days in municipal community buildings in Eustis, Kingfield and Avon. Reinholt and teaching assistant, Jessica O’Brien, educated community participants on painting and design techniques. Each participant designed and painted their own crazy quilt block.
“Crazy quilts were all the rage in the 19th century and were a convenient way to use up scraps of fabric left over from making their own clothes. Quilts were often supported by sacks of feed or sacks of flour. The HPCC chose to base Maine’s bicentennial murals on these 19th century designs so that community members could have the artistic freedom to design their own part of the mural. We also felt that the quilting style strongly represents parts of Maine’s heritage, particularly the use, wear, or removal of the mentality that still permeates our culture, ”says Reinholt.
Real crazy quilts, each over 100 years old, on loan from local historical societies, were on hand at some of the workshops to study and be inspired.
The HPCC was formed in 2012 and is a non-profit networking organization whose mission is to connect regional arts and cultural organizations around creative public projects that benefit the quality of life and support the resilience of the local economy. . The HPCC network includes twelve cultural organizations that have collaborated to create the Maine High Peaks Arts and Heritage Loop Map & Guide and five kiosks in the region. They plan to reprint their card this fall to include the barn quilts.
“Currently, the organization is striving to become a sustainable organization that will outlast the people who run it. For this to happen, the HPCC must build an endowment, ”says David Dixon, HPCC Treasurer.
HPCC’s initial endowment goal is $ 25,000, to be managed through the Maine Community Foundation. Reinholt says the organization is hopeful that people who enjoy the Barn Quilt Trail and people who have received Barn Quilt murals will donate to this fund. A book documenting the Barn Quilt Project is being considered as an additional fundraising project for 2021. To learn more about the trail and the HPCC, please visit www.highpeaksmaine.org.