Creative placemaking in Iowa


Placemaking is a deliberate technique to affect a community for the betterment of the community.

Placemaking tools can be a set of complex strategies or it can be as simple as barn quilts, which is nothing more than a simple act of expression.


Washington County, Iowa completely celebrates the barn quilt tradition.  Barn quilts highlight agricultural architecture, promote agri-tourism and create a proud sense of community.


"Barbershop Baskets"- Mr. and Mrs. Ed Shebek, Kalona, IA

A barn quilt is two 4'x8' pieces of plywood and the final pattern is completely up to the barn owner.  It is typically a large geometric design that uses block elements.


"Goosetracks" - Perry Miller family, Kalona, IA

Once you begin to notice the barn quilts, you begin to anticipate seeing them.


"Starstruck Geese" - Bruce Guy, Brighton, IA

This was a particular favorite.  It seemed very appropriate for the setting.


"Lady of the Lake"- Lynn and Craig Wright, Brighton, IA

Not all of the barns are in pristine condition, but every barn appears to be well maintained.



This barn quilt used an especially attractive color scheme.