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Historic district gets new quilt square
Local artist Carol Neal has created a quilt square to be placed downtown. Main Street McMinnville obtained a grant for the project. The artwork will be hung on the building where Moore Land Survey is located. The addition to downtown will be submitted for inclusion in the Upper Cumberland Quilt Trail.

McMinnville’s downtown historic district has a quilt square.
“This is something that I’ve been hearing people wanted to see downtown since I started with Main Street about two years ago,” said Paige Chastain, former director of Main Street McMinnville.
“Mary Robbins stumbled upon this grant and said ‘If you want to learn how to write grants, this would be the one to start with and you’ll need a good artist.’"
The grant was from the Tennessee Arts Commission. Local artist Carol Neal agreed to create the quilt square.
A reception for the unveiling of the square was held at Magness Library.  
“I have a passion for these squares,” said Neal. “If you’ve always wanted something, you can either always want it or you can have it. I decided I was going to have it. I couldn’t figure out how because I didn’t live on a farm and I didn’t have a barn or anything like that.”
The quilts are usually created for display on historic barns and other sites of cultural and historical significance.
Neal saw them displayed in a historic downtown district in another community while on a trip. She made the decision to create one for her neighborhood and place it on the side of her house that faces the street.
“I started with that one,” said Neal. “I’ve been able to do one for a lady in Sparta. She put it right on the front of her house out in the country. If you drive down Myers Cove, you can see one there on the side of a house. At Warren County Middle School, my students and I painted a great big one called 'Rebel Hill' to honor the Civic War battle there. It’s hung on the side of the school. These quilts are a gift to the community.”
“It needs to be bright, high-contract and eye-catching so when people come down that street they see it,” said Neal. “I thought about it and reworked the design a bunch of times. I can copy anything anyone wants but I don’t like to do that. I like them all to be original designs. This was designed specifically for our town.”
She named the quilt “New Day” in honor of the revitalization effort in downtown. Inspiration came from the sun and its rays lighting up each new day.
“It’s our hope the quilt square will be featured on the Upper Cumberland Quilt Trail,” said Chastain. “It will be a centerpiece for downtown.”
The quilt piece, said Chastain, has to be hung prior to being considered for acceptance on the quilt trail and that should take a couple of weeks.
Neal’s art students at Warren County Middle School also participated by making a one-piece class art project. It was unveiled by student Aiden Totherow.
The art piece will be displayed at Magness Library.
“It will be prominently hung in our young adult room,” said library director Walker. “It will make a wonderful addition to the library. We have several other pieces that have been given to us. There is one in my office we just haven’t had time to hang yet. It’s a wonderful piece of art. We are really grateful for the art we receive from local people. This is an amazing piece to come from the kids.”
The quilt square will be hung on the building at 121 West Main Street on the corner of Main and Chancery streets.