Blazing a New Trail
Date Posted: Sep 22, 2021
Foo Foo Festival to offer the Gulf Coast Quilt Trail
Since its inception eight years ago, Pensacola’s annual Foo Foo Festival has endeavored to put together 12 days that are dedicated to celebrating the wide variety of arts and culture the city has to offer. This year, the festival has added a unique event to that lineup with the Gulf Coast Quilt Trail.
Quilt trails are a rather new movement in which quilt patterns, often referred to as “blocks,” are painted in large scale and put on display for public viewing and enjoyment. This grassroots public art movement has taken the United States by storm over the last two decades, and as of today, there are approximately 8,000-plus quilt squares hanging across the country in all 50 states.
The Pensacola Quilter’s Guild is working to put together upwards of 30 quilt squares that will be installed all over Escambia County to be found via a fun folk art scavenger hunt from November 4 through 15. “We have an electronic map, as well as printed maps, that will guide participants to various general locations,” explains Pensacola Quilter’s Guild Committee Chairperson Heather Ensley. “The locations won’t be exact, which is on purpose so that it’s more of a fun search.”
Each installation will range in size from a two-foot square up to an eight-foot square, all hand-painted on aluminum, but each and everyone will be a different design and pattern. The Guild is in the process now of painting each one, and they are providing opportunities for the general public to get in on the painting as well.
The organization is hosting a variety of painting parties for anyone that would like to create a quilt block to participate. “We have kids coming in to paint as part of an after-school activity, and we have college students getting involved,” Heather adds. “We’re hoping to have the community involved in creating and painting them so that everyone feels invested in what we’re doing and adds a whole other level of intrigue to drive the trail.”
This will be the third quilt trail produced by the Pensacola Quilter’s Guild, and with each one, they are encouraged by multi-generational participation when it comes to scouring the area for each block. “Quilts really transcend each generation because even if you aren’t into quilting, many of us remember a grandmother that used to quilt or have quilts from a grandmother or great grandmother. There’s a nostalgia around quilts that many people can relate to, so it’s a unique aspect of public art that so many can relate to in different ways.”