Barn quilts coming to Wadena

Got an idea for a design, color or location for a barn quilt? Let the Wadena Park Board know your thoughts.

Lisa Kajer, with the Barn Quilts of Central Minnesota, speaks about how the group hopes to give two barn quilts to the city of Wadena. It's up to the Wadena Park Board to choose a design, colors and placement of the art. Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal

The Wadena Park Board approved accepting two barn quilts to be be custom designed and donated to the city by the Barn Quilts of Central Minnesota organization.

Lisa Kajer and Mary Noska, of the barn quilt organization, explained at a recent park board meeting that the group is the largest geographical barn quilt trail in Minnesota. The group started in 2015 through a grant with the Staples-Motley School District. Because that district encompasses Todd, Wadena, Morrison and Cass counties, the trail covers those four counties.

Kajer said there are now more than 110 barn quilts on the trail, yet the city of Wadena is a bit lacking. While the city of Staples has dozens listed on the map, the city of Wadena has zero. Since barn quilts don't have to go on barns, Kajer asked the Wadena Park Board to consider the gift of two barn quilts. The quilts will be made by Staples-Motley School District art students. All the board has to do is choose a design, up to four colors and where they want to place the quilts, with the city council's blessing.

The park board members were on board with the idea and plan to bring their recommendations to their next meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 2. They will have to fill out an application and the quilts, once complete and in place, will be added to the trail listing for people to go find. Kajer said the quilts are more than just an expression — they've become an engine of economic development and tourism.

"In 2020, I received more calls or emails about the barn quilts because people were looking to get out of their house and do something fun in the safety of their car," Kajer wrote.


You can view the barn quilt trail at to learn more. Brochures are also available at the Staples Historic Depot on Hwy 10 in Staples.

Michael Johnson is the news editor for Agweek. He lives in rural Deer Creek, Minn., where he is starting to homestead with his two children and wife.
You can reach Michael at or 218-640-2312.
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