Located in Athens, Ohio, the Dairy Barn Arts Center is an area staple whose history dates back to the 1800s. Originally a part of the Athens State Hospital, the barn offers an eclectic mix of exhibitions, events, camps, art classes, and other educational programs that promote talented area artists, encourage art appreciation, and attract visitors to southeast Ohio. Today, the old cow barn is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a beloved attraction by area locals and visitors alike – and it’s just a 45-minute drive from the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls! Here’s why a trip to this unique facility is a must when you visit the Hocking Hills.
History of the Dairy Barn Arts Center
In 1874, the Athens State Hospital opened and a dairy was bought a few years later to supply its milk and to provide therapy and job training for patients. Unfortunately, farming practices changed and production at the dairy barn tapered off – and by 1977, the barn was slated to be razed with other buildings that the Athens Mental Health Center no longer used. With only nine days until demolition, the Hocking Valley Arts Council rallied area residents and artists to preserve the barn and turn it into the vibrant arts center that it is today.
Exhibitions & Events
The Sauber Gallery is located on the main floor of the facility and features four exhibitions for guests to enjoy. One of the most famous is the Quilt National exhibit, held biennially at the Dairy Barn Arts Center. The event has attracted more than 100,000 visitors from around the world since its premier in 1979 and showcases the fascinating art form of quilt making. Here, guests will see a variety of heritage quilts, many of which were made using the traditional methods of piecing and patching, as well as innovative designs that feature new materials and technologies. The 20th Biennial Quilt National will be held from May 27 through September 4, 2017.
The center also has opportunities for artists to show small bodies of work and installations in the barn loft, located on the second floor. While touring the center, be sure to stop by the Gallery Shop where you can admire works by over 60 local artists. From pottery and jewelry to wall art and dinnerware, you can take a beautiful piece home with you and remember your trip forever! The shop is open Tuesday through Sunday from 12 to 5 PM.
Come Home to the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls!
Before you start planning your trip to southeast Ohio, be sure to book your stay at our Hocking Hills bed and breakfast! Surrounded by dense forest, caves, and waterfalls, our stunning inn is a short drive from all of the best area attractions and is the perfect place to relax after a day of fun. Feel free to enjoy a delicious meal at our onsite restaurant, Kindred Spirits, or treat yourself to a luxurious massage in our award-winning spa. We can’t wait to hear about what you discover at the Dairy Barn Arts Center!
For more information on fun things to do in Ohio, request a copy of our free Hocking Hills vacation guide.
Photo Credit: Positives | Thinkstock