Vermillion Cultural Association

Barn Quilts Keep South Dakota Healthy

An Asian woman poses in front of a colorful barn quilt.

Barn quilts are bright, familiar sights in rural parts of the United States, and the Vermillion Cultural Association (VCA) in Vermillion, South Dakota recently took barn quilt-making to new heights in a traveling health education effort. Barn Quilt Project: South Dakota Strong in collaboration with Creative Care LLC drew on the cultural history of quilt-making among both indigenous and European settler communities. “The Barn Quilt Project connected familiar quilt traditions with stories of resilience throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Shannon Cole, VCA Executive Director. Participants created quilt squares out of colorful fine art paper and wrote their pandemic experiences on the back. At each event, organizers handed out postcards in English, Lakota, and Spanish that provided the locations of nearby vaccine clinics. Over 1,000 South Dakotans created barn quilt patterns as part of the project.

Funding for this effort is made possible through a subaward from the CDC Foundation and is part of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) financial assistance award totaling $2,500,000.00 with 100 percent funding from CDC/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, CDC/HHS or the U.S. Government. 

Three masked people sit around a table and make patches for a barn quilt

A woman smiles and shows options for patches to use in a barn quilt

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