By Donna Campbell Smith, FCAC
Three years ago the quilt trail team of Franklin County Arts Council (FCAC) hung the first quilt block of the Quilt Trails of the Tar River. In one year the trail had over thirty blocks in Franklin and surrounding counties.
FCAC announced this week they have renamed the once Quilt Trails of the Tar River to Quilt Trails of the Tar and Roanoke Rivers. The trail has reached beyond the central counties of Franklin, Granville, and Vance counties to include Wake, Martin and Pitt with contracts for over sixty quilt blocks. With the cooperation of Martin County Arts Council there are nine quilt blocks sold in that county alone. Meanwhile the trail has gained a foothold in Henderson with ten new contracts in the Vance County Seat.
The Quilt Trails of the Tar and Roanoke Rivers was patterned after highly successful similar project: the Western North Carolina Quilt Trail, which has drawn tourists to that area and enriched many community enterprises. Franklin County Arts Council’s goal is to capitalize on the rich history, beauty, art and agriculture of the central and eastern regions of North Carolina.
They foresee the trail bringing people and their dollars into our small towns and rural areas spending money on gas, food and lodging. It also is hoped that small businesses will be created such as art and craft boutiques, farmers’ markets, tour guides and other local venues.
Each quilt block tells a story based on historic information researched by the team and provided by the applicant. Volunteers promote, sell, prepare, paint and mount the blocks. These volunteers include crafters, artists, quilters, printers, photographers, graphic designers, and writers. Wake Electric has partnered with FCAC to install blocks that are located at heights unsafe for volunteers to handle.
The quilt blocks are square, wooden blocks sold in 2-by-2, 4-by-4 and 8-by-8-foot sizes and are painted with a single quilt block pattern. For an extra fee the quilt pattern can be painted directly onto a building. When a property owner buys a quilt block they get a turn-key package from help in designing the quilt block pattern, constructing and painting the block, and the installation of the block.
Business owners are seeing the value in being part of the quilt trail for the exposure they receive by being listed on the brochure and map plus the Franklin County Arts Council’s website. (fcacarts.org).
Maps and brochures can be download from the FCAC website www.fcacarts.org and clicking on the Quilt Trail pages. The team is in the process of publishing a book with the history of the buildings, locations and pictures. Anyone interested in joining the trail can contact Franklin County Arts Council by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call 919.497.6910.