Kendall hosts screening of documentary film about barn quilts

Provided photo: Donna Sue Groves and her mother Nina Maxine Groves are pictured at the barn quilt trail in Adams County, Ohio, which started a movement on barn quilt trails, including in Kendall.

Posted 14 September 2018 at 4:41 pm

Press Release, Orleans County Tourism

Julianne Donofrio

KENDALL –  “Pieced Together” is the first documentary film about the American quilt square trail movement. Directed by Peabody Award-winning veteran of ABC News, Julianne Donofrio, “Pieced Together” tells the story of how one woman’s love for her mother changed the American landscape and saved her life after job loss, breast cancer, and multiple health concerns.

The film will be screened at the David J. Doyle Kendall Jr./Sr. High School auditorium on Saturday at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 at the school, 16887 Roosevelt Highway.

This event is free of charge and sponsored by Partyka Farms and Orleans County Tourism. The film runs 53 minutes and will be followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Julianne Donofrio and local Country Barn Quilt Trail organizer, Lora Partyka.

The film tells the story of how Donna Sue Groves had an idea. She wanted to pretty up an old barn for her mother Nina Maxine, a celebrated quilter, by hanging a wooden square painted to look like a traditional quilt block.

A community organizer by trade, Groves thought why stop with just one square? So she got together with her neighbors in Adams County, OH and created a driving trail of squares hung on barns to attract tourists looking for a day trip who might stop and spend money on gas, food, or crafts made by local artists. The first quilt square, an “Ohio Star,” was hung on the Lewis Mountain Herbs & Everlastings farm in 2001; the idea sparked a grassroots phenomenon and a new form of American public art.

Nina Maxine finally got her quilt square, a green and purple “Snail’s Trail,” in 2003.

Donofrio stumbled upon her first quilt square in Tennessee in 2009, and learned of Donna Sue Groves through a “pink” web page created by the quilt trail organizers in Garrett County, MD. They were raising funds for Donna Sue who had lost her job and was battling breast cancer.

“I guarantee you, that had it not been for the quilt trail community, that I would not be here today,” says Donna Sue Groves.

Now over 40 U.S. states and parts of Canada have quilt square trails, including one in Orleans County that was organized by Lora Partyka in 2006. There are more than 260 trails and countless squares found on barns, garages, and fences from California to Tennessee to Prince Edward Island. Donna Sue never planned on creating a cross-country community but it is this very community of friends and strangers that is helping her put the pieces of her life back together.

“I feel honored to witness and document what will one day be a chapter in our American history,” says Director/Producer Julianne Donofrio.

“Pieced Together” debuted at the National Quilt Trail Gathering in 2016 and was an Official Selection of the 2016 River’s Edge International Film Festival, the 2018 Ocean City Film Festival, the 2018 Ozark Foothills FilmFest, and the 2018 Great Western Catskills International Film Festival. “Pieced Together” won Best Documentary Short Feature Film at the 2017 Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival and the Audience Award: Feature at the 2018 Indy FilmFest. Julianne was an official presenter at the 2017 & 2018 Appalachian Studies Association Conference in Blacksburg, VA and Cincinnati, OH.

Photo courtesy of Lynne Menz: About 300 students at Kendall Junior-Senior High School watched “Pieced Together” this morning at the school. The film’s director, Julianne Donofrio, discussed the film with students. There will be another showing of the film on Saturday at the school as part of the Orleans County Heritage Festival. The screening is brought to the public by Partyka Farms, Orleans County Tourism and the GCC Student History Club.

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