The 20th Biennial of Quilt National is a competition and exhibit featuring juried art quilts from around the world. It’s held every two years at the Dairy Barn Arts Center, a former dairy barn turned key cultural arts center on Southeast Ohio. Before heading to Athens, check out our guide below for tips on making your visit a memorable one.
Enjoy the History of the Dairy Barn. Built in 1914, The Dairy Barn was built on land purchased from a local family by the Athens Asylum for the Insane (later the Athens State Hospital) to supply milk to the hospital’s residents and staff. Later, the site became part of the therapeutic and job training services the hospital offered. As times changed, so did the need for a dairy facility and the barn stopped producing milk by 1970. The Hocking Valley Arts Council purchased the building and grounds in 1977. The first Quilt National was held there just two years later. If you look closely, you can still see many details of the barn’s former life.
Visit the Kennedy Museum of Art. The arts played a big role in saving the main building of the Athens State Hospital. Now known as Lin Hall, it is home to The Kennedy Museum of Art. The current exhibit, Merging Concepts III, is an exhibition curated, organized, designed and installed by Ohio University students in the Museum Studies Certificate program. Objects on exhibit represent various collections from University units including Kennedy Museum of Art, The Robert E. and Jean R. Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections, the Department of Biomedical Sciences, and the Southeast Ohio History Center.
Refresh Your Fabric Supply at the Nelsonville Quilt Company. Owned by sisters Susan Moore and Donna Adams, visitors to their store near Nelsonville’s Public Square are greeted with a stunning array of fabrics, patterns and class offerings. But it’s Susan and Donna’s welcoming and inviting personalities and quilt making expertise that keep quilters from all over Ohio and the Midwest coming back.
Explore the Region with the Quilt Barn Tour. There’s no better way to tour the hills of Athens County than with the Quilt Barn Tour as your guide. While on the lookout for the next historic Quilt Barn, you’ll discover winding creeks, fields of wildflowers, spectacular overlooks, and covered bridges. Pack a picnic and don’t forget your camera. Choose between the 45-mile Appliqué Loop, the 45-mile Stitch Loop, or the 55-mile Quilter’s Loop.
Why not stay for a couple of days so you can truly have the best Quilt National Experience! Travel safely and we’ll see you in Athens soon!