ELKHART — Quilt Gardens along the Heritage Trail, the Elkhart County CVB’s award-winning display of natural beauty, is celebrating its 15th year in 2022 with an all-new exhibition of public art highlighting Elkhart County’s creative spirit. At 51 pieces of public art new to Elkhart County, it will truly be epic.
The Quilt Gardens will be planted at 17 locations in Elkhart, Goshen, Nappanee, Bristol, Middlebury and Wakarusa. They will open to the public on May 30, 2022, will be free to view until September 15, 2022. Activity at each of the Quilt Gardens sites is building momentum, leading up to the planting and preparation starting around May 20 when the hundreds of volunteers who make this annual event happen get to work.
“The Quilt Gardens are an important expression of community pride and represent the dedication Elkhart County residents have to creating a vibrant community,” said Jon Hunsberger, executive director of the Elkhart County CVB. “The 15th anniversary of Quilt Gardens deserves a big celebration that no one around here has ever seen before.”
Returning after its first appearance in Elkhart County five years ago, Seward Johnson’s life-like and engaging bronze sculptures are returning to Quilt Gardens sites and several other locations. To make it an even more exciting Epic Art Adventures, the Elkhart County CVB is also installing 27 works of public art created by artists in the Elkhart County area.
With 24 Seward Johnson sculptures, 27 sculptures by local artists and several existing murals and sculptures, there are more than 200 works of art in Elkhart, Goshen, Nappanee, Bristol, Middlebury, Millersburg and Wakarusa for the public to enjoy for free.
“It’s going to be a fun summer in Elkhart County for residents and visitors. Whether you’re out bicycling and walking, attending community festivals, enjoying outdoor concerts, or going out to dinner, you will not be far from amazing artwork,” Hunsberger said.
The 27 sculptures selected for the Epic Art Adventures exhibition were chosen from a juried process in which local artists applied for their works to be included. John Mishler, associate professor of art at Goshen College, worked with the Elkhart County CVB to curate the exhibition. Many of the artists are Mishler’s students or former students.
“I have always thought that contemporary public art would be one way of recognizing the arts in the area. The Epic Art Adventure is allowing that to happen. My sculpture students at Goshen College been very enthused about showing their work in Elkhart County. This has led them to make large-scale sculptures far beyond what they thought they could make,” Mishler said.
The Elkhart County CVB is offering multiple ways for residents and visitors to enjoy the Quilt Gardens. Most of the Quilt Gardens sites are located along the Heritage Trail, a 90-mile audio self-guided tour that LIFE’s editors deemed one of the “most scenic drives” in the U.S. The Heritage Trail audio is available at the Elkhart County Visitor Center, 3421 Cassopolis St., as well as many local tourism partners and chambers of commerce. It is also available as a digital download and can be accessed from multiple podcasting platforms.
People can also sign up at QuiltGardens.com for the Quilt Gardens Passport, a free digital pass that helps you experience the Quilt Gardens and Murals instantly on your smartphone. Anyone who checks in at all 31 Quilt Gardens and Quilt Mural locations via the Quilt Gardens Passport will receive a Well Crafted goodie bag.
About the Elkhart County CVB
The Elkhart County CVB is the official tourism advertising/marketing and public/community relations organization for the Elkhart County hospitality industry. The Elkhart County CVB advances quality-of-place initiatives in our downtowns and rural spaces, parks and natural environment, arts and culture, and events, festivals, groups and activities that help forge social connections.