Office of Tourism requests approval for barn quilt cube sculptures

Office of Tourism requests approval for barn quilt cube sculptures
Rendering of one of the two cube barn quilt sculptures Manchester artist Charlie Maiorana hopes to sell the county's tourism office this summer. (Courtesy photo / Charlie Maiorana)

The Office of Tourism is requesting approval from the Board of County Commissioners on Thursday, June 21, to put barn quilt cube sculptures in Westminster — one outside the County Office Building on North Center Street and one outside the Carroll County Farm Museum.

The sculptures were created by local artist Charlie Maiorana, a former D.C. resident who has lived in Manchester for the past three years and found himself enamored with the burgeoning barn quilt trail spreading through the county, one that was born in Ohio to celebrate rural America through art.


“The history of the barn quilts started in Ohio with the lady doing it to highlight her mother because she was big into quilts,” said Bonnie Staub, manager of the Office of Tourism. “So she had painted a quilt pattern on this old barn they had and it sort of took off — and now about 25 states are in the bar quilt trail. Carroll County is part of the 25 states. It’s very interesting how it’s grown and multiplied.”

Maiorana originally submitted his sculpture idea for a contest held by the City of Westminster to find local art for its new administrative offices at their recently acquired site at 45 W. Main St. His was not chosen, though. The winner of the contest was a sculpture called “Sprout” by Union Mills artist Thomas Sterner.

“It’s two very large sprouts with leaves on them,” said Susan Williamson, visual arts coordinator of the Carroll Arts Center. “On the top the leaves will be turned as such that they cast shadows in the different paths of the sun, and the landscaping around it will be natural grasses so that it will look like green sprouts coming up out of the earth.

“It’s actually beautiful,” she said, “and the leaves themselves have openings in them. They will cast really great shadows.”

Sterner’s sculpture has already been approved and Williamson said the city expects the installation to be finalized in the spring of 2019.

But, she said, “Charlie’s sculpture … was a tall pedestal with a barn quilt cube on top.”

“And even though that one did not get chosen,” she said, “light bulbs went off in my head that that sculpture needs to go somewhere in this county — especially since we have the barn quilt trail that is quite unique here and a tourist attraction.”

Williamson said she hopes commissioners give the Office of Tourism approval to purchase the two sculptures from Maiorana so that they can be installed with plaques explaining the history of barn quilts and pamphlets informing passersby about the barn quilt trail.

The purchase would not be funded by money from the county, Staub said, but from the hotel/motel tax that goes toward the county’s tourism budget.

“I'm also a believer that the more public works of art a town has, the more appeal it has for visitors,” said Williamson. “They are more inclined to — it really creates just a friendly environment when people can see public works of art, which barn quilts are.”

The Carroll Arts Center formed a guild to paint the first 12 of the trail in 2013 and now there are more than 30 barn quilts across the county.

“I’ve done a number of these outdoor 3-D sculptures using recycled materials in the past,” Maiorana said Wednesday. “I'm excited about it. Not only do I think it’s going to be a cool thing, but it’s the first real installation I would have had up here since I moved to the new area.”

Commissioners will make a decision on the purchase at their next meeting on Thursday.