Quilt National has been showing art quilts to the world biennially since 1979. It's home in The Dairy Barn Arts Center, Athens, Ohio, makes a wonderful trip...especially on a beautiful Summer day.
The show runs from May to September, which allows for plenty of time schedule a trip. You may see the quilts until September 5 this year.
I behaved myself (this time...) and did not sneak any pictures inside. But you can enjoy many of the quilts by using this link: http://dairybarn.org
There were three juors who selected 88 quilts from the 1038 entered (sent by 494 artists from around the world). Can you imagine that process?
Quilt National does not have the usual first-second-third place style of awards as we are accustomed to at many shows. That's probably because this really is an art show. There are a total of 15 awards.
The jurors do get to chose the Best of Show, and each one has a pick for a Juror's Award of Merit.
Then comes the impressive array of special awards sponsored by many different people and organizations, some as memorials. I think a quilt show award would be a great way to be remembered after passing on. It would be a great way to honor a living person, too!
I won't list all the awards here, but a couple are especially interesting.
The Quilts Japan Prize is sponsored by the Nihon Vogue Corporation "as an expression of gratitude for teaching and guidance that American quilters have given to Japanese quilters."
There are two awards for "emerging" artists, one for an artist under the age of 30.
Especially dear is the Persistence Pays Award, given to "the first-time exhibitor who has entered Quilt National the most number of times before gaining acceptance." How's that for a wonderful idea??? And it's in memory of Hilary Fletcher, who was the director of Quilt Natioanl for many years.
Of course there is a People's Choice Award, and I did vote...but what a hard choice! That's true for any show I've ever been to.
As I was traveling, I once again thought of the many states who have a Quilt Barn project. Farmers have a huge quilt block painted on the barn, or on a sign hung on the barn, and then a map is made up so you can tour aound and see all the barns. Kentucky has several visible from I-75.
While a book is not as good as seeing quilts "in the cloth", you may want to check out the book from Quilt National 2011 (there are books for each of the past shows as well, though some may be out of print). Besides the jurors' statements (a chance to find out what were they thinking!), there is a very insightful Intrduction written by Kathleen M. Davis, Quilt National Director. It tells in detail about the jurying process.
I paid for my copy, but I'll still give a link to Lark books at http://www.larkcrafts.com because all their books are just beautifully done!