Mayfield art students making quilt barn squares to display on the fire district building

Advertisement for the FM quilt brain trailJeremy Lebediker’s art students are putting a beautiful face on a plain building.

This year, his grade 9 and 10 Studio Art students at Mayfield Jr./Sr. High School painted 18 wooden quilt barn squares, each 2 by 2 feet, with bright, colorful designs.

“This is going to be a big thing, something that will be in Mayfield for quite some time,” said Lebediker. He said his students spent about two weeks designing and painting the projects, which will be displayed on the side of the fire district side building at 28 North School Street.

He said the students’ display will become part of the Fulton Montgomery Quilt Trial – a network of the quilt barn squares displayed throughout the two counties. Check out this YouTube video about the Quilt Trail.

He noted that students were provided with the bright colorful designs – some with squares, triangles and diamonds.  They had to mathematically calculate how the designs could be enlarged and fit symmetrically on to 2 by 2 pieces of wood.

Students were asked to sign their works on the back. There will be a display plate with all the students’ names on it at the fire building.

Liz Argotsinger, a Johnstown native who retired after 37 years at Frontier Telephone in Johnstown, has long been an active volunteer in every project she takes on.

She fell in love with the quilt square idea and, in 2014, founded the Fulton Montgomery Quilt Trail. There are now more than 150 of the quilt barn squares on display in the two counties, on the sides of buildings and barns, as free standing displays and even on the front of the nearby Mayfield Café.

She described the quilt barn squares as the “largest grassroots art movement” in the country.

The movement got its start in 2001 in Adams County, Ohio. Resident Donna Sue Groves wanted to find a way to honor her mother who was an avid quilter. She came up with the idea to make them out of wood and attach them to local barns in her area.

Since then the movement has reached almost all 50 states and Canada.

Argotsinger, who provided the wood and paint to the students, said the quilt barn squares are meant to accent beautiful scenes, especially with the fall foliage, and to boost tourism. As visitors see the squares, they are apt to stop in local businesses along the way.

But they are not meant to promote businesses directly. “There are no business logos on them; we try to create a beautiful mural with the squares,” she said.

Argotsinger reached out to Carol Hart, who lives in Mayfield and is active in the fire district. The Fire District Board were excited to approve the request to place the squares on the side of the building, Argotsinger added. 

Kathy Dougherty, Mayfield’s interim superintendent, connected Argotsinger with Lebediker. The designs may be shown to the Board of Education before they are mounted on the building.

Here are a few photos of students as they worked on the quilt barn squares:

Students working on quilt project

Students putting the finishing touches on projects

Student selects color for square

Student puts finishing touches on project

Student holding up project

Student showing off project

Student holding square in front of him

Student shows the colorful square

Student holds up project to show everybody