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Quilts go up, new trail laid down

staff report • Feb 7, 2013 at 8:48 AM

Thanks to a grant from the Kingsport Community Foundation, a new public art trail is coming to downtown Kingsport. Vibrantly painted 4- by 4-foot quilt murals, like the ones that grace barns on the regional Quilt Trail, will begin to appear Feb. 7 on the historic brick facades of downtown Kingsport.

By summer 2013, the downtown Kingsport walking Quilt Trail will include almost 20 murals. This kick off coincides with First Thursdays Downtown. The public is invited to the Cindy Saadeh Fine Art Gallery at 128 E. Market St., from 5 to 8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 7, to enjoy an open house and see the first three Quilt Squares placed in the vicinity.

The quilt murals are the result of 1,000 hours of time volunteered by professional and amateur artists. Students at Cora Cox Academy painted the two murals already on display the Kingsport Farmer’s Market building. The choice of quilt designs came directly from families of Kingsport and Sullivan County.

A call for historical quilts to be considered as inspiration for the project was solicited throughout the community in spring 2012. More than 50 people responded and brought their own family heirlooms for consideration. these, 17 patterns were chosen. Many are classic quilt designs or variations of patterns like Little Dutch Girl, Grandmother’s Flower Garden, and Gentleman’s Bowtie. But just like the hand-stitched treasures themselves, each mural is unique.

A Guide By Cell Phone tour is in the works in partnership with the Kingsport Cultural Arts office. Like with the City of Kingsport Sculpture Walk, visitors will soon be able to dial-in and hear family and quilt stories narrated by the family members themselves.

The Quilt Trail of upper East Tennessee is coordinated by the Appalachian RC&D Council, whose mission is to improve rural economy and conserve natural resources.

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