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Community Education Barn Quilt Art Classes: A Colorful Journey Awaits

Cynthia Buchholtz is a force of creativity and color, and her passion for teaching the art of the barn quilt has taken her all over the state. As we exchanged emails to set up a time to talk about her upcoming classes in the area, she was on a 6-day barn quilt teaching road trip in the Park Rapids, Grand Rap­ids, and Brainerd area. When we connected, she took a break from planting over a dozen peonies, taking advantage of a late October sunny day.

With a vibrant enthusiasm for her craft, Cynthia shared stories of her recent adven­tures. Her classes had a diverse mix of participants, including a remarkable 95-year-old man who attended and participated with the help of his daughter. Cynthia also welcomed many repeat customers and had the pleasure of meeting a multitude of fun and engaging people along the way.

Cynthia currently resides in Hutchinson, Minnesota, after raising her kids in Bemidji. She originally hails from Two Harbors. She had dabbled in oil paintings and watercolors. However, it was the world of barn quilts that piqued her interest. At the time, she had a barn but had no idea what barn quilts were. (I had to look them up myself. Barn quilts are those big, beautiful quilt panel paint­ings on the sides of barns and buildings.) Curiosity led her to take a barn quilt class, and she fell in love with it.

“I’ve always loved color. I’ve always loved paint. It’s kind of the perfect thing for me,” Cynthia explained. She initially created a barn quilt for her husband’s woodworking classroom, which drew the attention of the community education department. They inquired if she would be interested in teaching, but she was reluc­tant at first. However, she said, “I decided to be brave.”

She taught a session in her husband’s classroom and, though she was initially nervous, found it to be really fun. Since that first class in 2016, Cynthia has gone on to teach all over the state. The experience is immensely re­warding for her because it is an art form that transforms novices into confident creators. Many students come in with no prior knowledge of how to begin a barn quilt, and they leave excited, inspired, and eager to share their newfound passion with friends.

Recently, several of Cynthia’s classes were held through the Kitchigami Library System, with the classes funded by a Legacy Grant. The grant, part of the Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage program, aims to pre­serve the state’s cultural history and was created using funds from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, administered by the Minneso­ta Historical Society.

Barn quilts have become a fascinating and colorful part of Minnesota’s cultural heritage, with barn quilt trail tours attracting enthusi­asts from all over the state and the country.

Cynthia shared her perspective on barn quilt art, saying, “Any kind of art is good for the soul. But this, I think, is so colorful and sim­plistic.”

The connections she has made with her stu­dents have been a source of immense fulfill­ment. “Art has been really good for me,” she shared, “You make a connection with people. I want people to come and have a good time and be proud of what they do.”

As of this writing, there is a waiting list for the November 2nd class in Two Harbors. However, there is still room in the November 1st Silver Bay Class, held at William Kelley School from 5:30 PM to 9:30 PM. Class fees cover all materials, making it an accessible and enjoyable creative experience for everyone.

Cynthia Bucholtz’s classes are more than just art lessons; they are opportunities for personal growth and community connection. Her love for color, paint, and barn quilts has evolved into a vibrant and inclusive journey, one that she is eager to share with all who wish to join.

Visit lakesuperiorcomed.ce.eleyo.com to learn more about her classes.

Feel free to contact me at sarahwritesnsj@yahoo.com with any news we should news about!

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