January 26th, 2013

Imagine the rolling hills of eastern Iowa dotted with painted barns. Barns of all shapes and sizes, painted with murals of all kinds. Murals depicting our rural heritage, historical events,  honoring presidents, musicians, movie stars, celebrities, grandparents. Murals that move us to laughter and tears, murals that celebrate the fundamental Iowa-ness of this place.

Imagine the delight of traveling down a dusty gravel road, only to be surprised and amazed as you crest a hill and see before you a magical image painted on a century-old canvas of barnwood. Imagine a dozen, 20, 50 such works attracting visitors from around the globe. The project will give our area the largest concentration of barn murals in the world.

That’s the vision of the Painted Barns Project. Want to learn more? Scroll down for a gallery of painted barns around the country.  Check out the FAQs and then look at some links to barn murals, and their cousins, barn quilts. If you’d like to support the project or get involved, contact the Mount Vernon Area Arts Council by emailing