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The Quarantine Quilt: A mosaic of the community

Madden: ‘The arts don’t stop just because you can’t leave your home’


July 03, 2020 by Rachael Perry

The Campanile Center for the Arts in downtown Minocqua is using a collaborative quilt to bring the community together during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The center is the home to music classes, art classes, live performances from tribute bands, dancers, theatre and much more. With closures due to COVID-19, the center has been required to suspend performances in their auditorium and take extra measures to ensure health and safety of their students in the conservatory. 

Executive director Sandy Madden is hoping for performances to resume soon, however after seeing a project The Wisconsin Museum of Quilting and Fiber Arts had in the works, Madden was inspired to start a “Quarantine Quilt” for the Campanile community and anyone else eager to get involved. 

“I saw what they were doing and I thought ‘Gee, we have so many people up here that are staying home and I know we’ve got a lot of hobbyists and there’s a quilting club out here that is pretty large and active,’ so I thought let’s just put it out there,” Madden said. 

Before the idea came about, Madden and the staff at the Campanile were dedicated to helping families find projects they could do at home. This included a project where families could paint rocks and landscape in their yards together. 

Without many expectations in mind, Madden was hopeful people would be excited to submit their quilt squares. 

“I thought this would be neat because all you need is a 12x12-inch square of cotton and put something on it,” she said. 

It wasn’t until three weeks after the initial posting the first square was mailed in, followed by countless shares on Facebook and now a dozen squares have been submitted to Madden.  

She pointed out a recent submission of a square made from the leftover scraps of fabric a woman had from sewing protective masks. Madden said she has been shocked with how incredibly creative people have been. 

With no theme or requirements, other than the size and fabric, every square has been unique. The quilt will hang on a wall near the ticket office of the Campanile auditorium and Madden feels it will resemble a mosaic of the community. 

“You can get a square of 12x12-inch cotton and you could have your kids put paint on their hands and make their handprints and that’s a quilt square,” Madden said. “And so I think that’s the Mosaic and the story that the quilt is going to tell.”

With the unexpected change in reality, Madden said she never anticipated the Campanile would be making a quilt by submission. 

“But I think that’s what those of us in the arts do right. We get real creative and we get resourceful,” she said. “And one of the things we wanted to do is make sure that the people who love the Campanile could stay engaged and we saw our role as one of an obligation or responsibility to keep the ideas out there.”


Music lessons

One thing Madden has been surprised by is the number of beginners who are wanting to start music lessons since quarantine began. 

“We have a 10-year-old but we also have a 68-year-old who is beginning music lessons and I think that’s demonstrative of that people want to start gaining some (artistic) skills,” she said.  

Whether its baking, car design, gardening or architecture, Madden believes art surrounds people and is a key aspect of life. She encourages people to keep sending in squares and each square will be incorporated along with the note they include. 

“The arts don’t stop just because you can’t leave your home,” Madden said. 

Rachael Perry may be reached at [email protected]


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