1. Determine your funding source
- Municipal Governments, such as your local mayor or council members
- Arts Commission/Councils
- Convention & Visitor Bureaus
- If you know of a good grant writer, there are several potential grants that may jump at the opportunity to fund such a community-wide project
2. Identify at least 12 potential host sites
- houses, or
- downtown businesses that will house a barn quilt
3. Create a cost estimate
- brush supplies
- hanging hardware
- additional materials
- painter (unless they will volunteer their time)
4. Paint a sample
- either paint a few small ones to show the funding source
- or paint one in the community
5. Draft a proposal
- Introduce the topic of barn quilts
- Describe the purpose of the barn quilt trail
- Specify how many will be on the trail
- List the cost
- Add follow-up
Laurie’s note: I presented my proposal to the city council. Our little city had been looking for ways to spend the tourism product development dollars so they awarded me $10,000. I initially thought I’d be able to paint and install 10 or 12 barn quilts with that amount, but since my hubby installs them and I paint them all for free, that money has funded all 48 barn quilts so far.
6. Recruit volunteers
- an art class at a local high school
- any club or guild, but quilt guilds in particular
- host a barn quilt painting class to generate interest
- find a few folks to serve on a committee
7. Develop policies and procedures
- check municipal ordinances
- determine the type of patterns that are acceptable
- create a legal rental agreement
8. Contact potential hosts
Laurie’s note: I contacted the potential hosts that I personally knew, and who I also knew loved quilting. When they learned they could have a barn quilt for free, they gladly agreed.
9. Painting and Installation
- mentor with another barn quilt trail
- take a class or two
- figure out which paints and processes work best for you.
10: Promote the Barn Quilt TrailIt’s time to promote your trail and drum up interest! Facebook offers free pages you can create to post pictures of new barn quilt installations, in-process photos of the work, spotlights on particular barn quilts and quilters, and local articles that are newsworthy. In addition, you can also create a free basic website through several companies. It’s always beneficial if you create some sort of a map or address listing on your site for those who like to spend the day or weekend driving through and spotting each one on the trail. It doesn’t have to be fancy.
11. Monthly reports
Laurie’s closing – I’ve had a blast doing this. I’ve met several tourists who have traveled from out of state to visit our trail, and when I see them looking at the barn quilts on my property, I invite them to see my workshop. (Oh yeah, my hubby has built a workshop for me since we started.) Some folks from outside of our city have asked for a barn quilt, but they are not eligible for a free barn quilt from our city; so I offer to paint one for them if they will pay for the materials. I’ve only done this a few times, as I’m not in the business of mass-producing barn quilts. I’m more about promoting our rural heritage.