The Barn Quilt Heritage Trail - McLean County is a celebration of our county's farming heritage and the talents of local quilters, artists, and poets. In 2014, the project came under the sponsorship of the University of Illinois Extension in Livingston, McLean, and Woodford Counties.
Area barns and other buildings are being decorated with 8 x 8-foot quilt squares painted on plywood. Participating site owners work with the Barn Quilt Committee to select designs and colors for their barn quilts, and some have worked on the creation of their own barn quilt blocks.
The quilt squares will remain on the buildings at least five years, and a series of additional sites around McLean County will be added each year through 2016. The structures are visible from the road or on a site that is frequently visited. Owners contribute toward the cost of construction and promotional expenses for the project.
Numerous volunteers of all ages and backgrounds, and many businesses and organizations also contribute to the effort to stitch together many elements for this commemorative project that promotes local tourism and highlights the arts and agriculture.
For more information about the trail, watch the McLean Barn Quilt Heritage Trail Video, or plan to visit the trail in person.
Barn Quilt Map (for mobile)
Pieced Together, A Documentary Film
Released in the summer of 2016, "Pieced Together" is the first documentary film about the quilt square trail movement and the woman behind it all, Donna Sue Groves. Director and producer Julianne Donofrio filmed sites in McLean County and interviewed members of the committee representing Barn Quilt Heritage Trail of McLean County.
Judith Boudreaux holds an MA in English and an MFA in Creative Writing from Wichita State University. She is currently completing a first book of poetry, a collection of short fiction, and has a comic novel under construction. She is also a playwright who has written a three-act '50s farce. Her work has been published in JAMA, The Rambunctious Review (first place in their fiction contest), and Image.
V. Joseph Boudreaux, a retired physician, moved to the Bloomington-Normal community with his wife, Judy, in 2008. Joe has become active in many areas of the community. He is a physician member of the Advocate BroMenn Delegate Executive Committee and participates in the activities of Illinois People's Action. He serves on the Steering Committee of his church, New Covenant Community. Joe is also a volunteer patient advocate. He actively supports Judy's writing career and writes poetry and non-fiction on his own.
Kathleen Kirk is the author of four poetry chapbooks, most recently Nocturnes (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2012). Her work appears in numerous print and online journals, including Poetry East, Lake Effect, and Spoon River Poetry Review, and frequently airs on Poetry Radio, WGLT. She taught writing and literature at DePaul University in Chicago and Lincoln College in Lincoln and now serves as poetry editor for Escape Into Life, an international online journal of the arts.
Peg Kirk once taught English and coached the speech team at the former NCHS on Kingsley Street in Normal. Now she volunteers at the McLean County Museum of History, enjoys the theatre, and writes poetry, usually light verse. She has slept under quilts, admired the handiwork of a variety of quilters, but only now knows the delight of seeing quilts appear on the sides of barns.
Bill Morgan has published two chapbooks of poems, Trackings: The Body’s Memory, The Heart’s Fiction (Dead Metaphor Press, 1998) and Sky With Six Geese (Pudding House Press, 2005), as well as numbers of individual poems in journals. His full-length manuscript, entitled Salvage, is circulating to publishers and contests. For many years he taught in the English Department at Illinois State University and published scholarly studies of Thomas Hardy. Now he is poetry editor for The Hardy Review and co-produces Poetry Radio for WGLT, the NPR affiliate in Normal, Illinois.
Ginny Nappi is a retired psychotherapist who has participated in a local poetry workshop. She has had poems published locally, including one in Heartland Community College’s Muse. She enjoyed visiting and learning from her farm families and recalling the times she worked in tobacco and dairy barns as a teenager in Connecticut.
Ardis Stewart teaches English and Humanities at Heartland Community College. Her poetry has been published in Seeding the Snow, RHINO, Word-River and Where We Live: Illinois Poets.
M. Irene Taylor studied acting at the University of Illinois and went on to earn her MA in theatre at Illinois State University. Recently retired, Irene is a graduate student in ISU's Department of English. Irene also enjoys her position as coordinator of New Route Theatre's Word Weavers, a creative writing group for members of the local community.
The poets have created poems for each barn by looking at images of the barn quilt squares and the original quilt patterns, visiting the barns, interviewing the barn owners, and/or studying historical information related to a particular barn or quilt pattern.
“Words on Quilts" poems appear on the pages with the site descriptions and photos on this website and in the Official Barn Quilt Heritage Trail – McLean County Guidebook.
Most poems were featured on Poetry Radio on WGLT 89.1FM, offering the best in classic and contemporary poetry, underscored with evocative music. Poetry Radio was a co-production of Illinois State University's Department of English and WGLT. As of 2016, Poetry Radio is no longer on the air.
Hosts: Kirstin Hotelling Zona and Bill Morgan
Producer: Bruce Bergethon
Words on Quilts is a production of the Illinois Voices Theatre and a member unit of the Illinois Theatre Consortium. This program is partially funded by the Town of Normal's Harmon Arts Grant.
Kay Henrichs - Chairperson 2012-2016
Karen Gottlieb - Secretary/Treasurer
Ruthie Cobb - Public Relations
Judy Brown - Voices Theatre
Joe Horine - Photographer
Ken Yanzy - Graphic Designer
Jane Osborn - Graphic Designer
Mary Jane Zook
Reid Young - University of Illinois Extension - (309) 663-8306 email@example.com
Bud and Deb Johnson
Eric and Mysty Vaughn
Mary Jane Zook
Home Spun 4-H Club
Central Catholic High School art students & teacher Jim Reckard
Richard Seehuus & Carolyn Moon
Marianne Minnis, A Dash of Splash Decorating
Mary Jane Zook
V. Joseph Boudreaux
Ardis L. Stewart
M. Irene Taylor
Ken Yanzy and Reid Young
This year's Barn Quilts were constructed and painted at the Morrison farm, the Henrichs basement and numerous other sites.
Corn Belt Energy
Mike and Kay Richard, Richard Farms
Harold & Marlene Gregor, Harold Gregor Gallery, Bloomington, Illinois
Bruce Bergethon, WGLT
Dale Evans and the Plein Aire Painters
Assistance with Project
University of Illinois Extension - Livingston, McLean, Woodford Counties
Don Smith Paint Company
David Davis Mansion State Historic Site staff and volunteers
Heritage Association of McLean County
Illinois Voices Theatre
Illinois Theatre Consortium
Bloomington-Normal Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
Town of Normal – Harmon Arts Grant
Garlic Press Market Café
David Davis Mansion Foundation
Jane Crawley, Sewing Studio
Menards, product/paint consultants
Chip Stevens and Mike Moore, Select Screen Prints & Embroidery, Inc.
Jeff, Jim and Kelly Collins, The Michael Collins Foundation
Steve Malliet, president, Normal Corn Belters
Colleen Reynolds, Heartland Community College
Nate Metzger, Heartland Community College
R.C. McBride, Illinois State University
Leaders on Loan
Julianne Donofrio, filmmaker,"Pieced Together"
Corn Belt Energy Installation Crew
Jerry Daugherty, Maintenance Foreman
Brian Felker, Construction Foreman
Mike Butler, Substation Foreman
Shane Bollhurst, Serviceman
- Barn Keepers
- Barn Quilts of DeWitt County Illinois
- Barn Quilts of Kankakee County Illinois
- Barn Quilts of Sac County Iowa
- Bloomington-Normal Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
- Corn Belt Energy
- David Davis Mansion State Historic Site
- Hands All Around Quilt Guild of Central Illinois
- Harold Gregor Art Studio
- Illinois Theatre Consortium
- McLean County Chamber of Commerce
- McLean County Museum of History
- Town of Normal