JEFFERSON — The Ashtabula County Barn Quilt Steering Committee is accepting applications from Ashtabula County barn owners who would like to have a barn quilt on their heritage barn.
The Civic Development Corporation, in recognition of the tourism potential of barn quilts, funded a grant project that will allow the steering committee to award at least 12 barn quilt grants this year. The grants are competitive and will be scored according to criteria that include the historical significance of the barn, its condition and the tourism potential of the location.
The steering committee came together just one year ago. It was founded by Ashtabula quilter Kathy McCarty and Conneaut quilter Chris Angerman. The committee has worked with property owners throughout the county to bring almost four dozen barn quilts to fruition. These quilts are featured on the driving map inside the Ashtabula County 2015 Visitors Guide.
“Barn quilts are a perfect match for our county’s rural scenery, agricultural heritage, wineries and covered bridges,” said Carl E. Feather, a steering committee member and lodging tax administrator for the county. “We have a barn quilt on one covered bridge and, come spring, we’ll have two more.”
Area wineries also are seeing the value of the barn quilt in driving business to their door, he said.
Old Firehouse Winery, Kosicek Vineyards and The Winery at Spring Hill have signed on. Additionally, The Nature Conservancy recently added a barn quilt to its campus on Callender Road.
“This year, we really want to highlight our county’s heritage farms and barns, as well as rural sites of historical significance, by offering these grants,” Feather said.
Barn quilts are quilt patterns painted on high-quality plywood. The quilts must adhere to the steering committee’s construction, painting and installation standards in order to be on the trail.
A grant of up to $500 per quilt is available to applicants, who can use the money to purchase supplies and paint the quilt themselves, or to hire a contractor to make the quilt and install it. The committee does not paint quilts or install them, but they can provide guidance and technical advice.
Applications are available online at http://barnquiltsashtabulacounty.com. To obtain an application by mail, call 576-3768 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The grant recipients will be required to have their quilt installed by Sept. 30 and agree to have it be part of the county’s Barn Quilt Trail. A mandatory information session will take place with the successful applicants in May.
Deadline for receiving applications is April 30. Awards will be announced in early May.