Spring in Athens, Ohio, marks the beginning of festival season. Local artists, vendors and residents alike gather to support and display regional productions representative of our unique culture. One venue in particular that promotes local craftsmanship and art is The Dairy Barn Arts Center located at 8000 Dairy Lane.

Cow Barn to Art Center 

In 1978, the vacant Athens State Hospital Cow Barn was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. That same year the Dairy Barn Southeastern Ohio Cultural Arts Center was established as a non-profit corporation. Today The Barn hosts regular art exhibitions, events and educational programs for community members of all ages. Their mission is to provide community access to fine arts and crafts from outside the region while drawing attention and visitors to Southeast Ohio.



Quilt National

The Barn functions on a 12-month program calendar that includes international juried exhibitions, festivals, touring exhibits, programs of regional interest, live performances and activities for all ages. The Quilt National is a very popular biennial exhibition that began in 1979 and has given The Barn an international reputation for excellence. 2015 is the 19th competition of new, innovative quilts and people from all across the country will be in attendance. The exhibition opens on May 23 and continues through Sept. 7.

Dairy Barn Fest 

This weekend, April 10 and 11, is the Dairy Barn Fest. This festival is a spring celebration featuring 40-plus artists and vendors from around the region selling handcrafted goods and artwork of all mediums. The event is free and opens Friday April 10 at 3 p.m. until 8 p.m. The opening reception, featuring an open bar and hors d’oeuvres, begins at 5 p.m. on Friday. The Dairy Barn fest continues on Saturday April 11 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This spring shopping tradition promotes art appreciation and nurtures local artists/artisans.

Let’s Get Involved 

Attending any of the unique events hosted at The Barn is the most fun way to get involved with The Dairy Barn Arts Center. Their 12-month program calendar can be found on their site at Making a donation for general wish list supplies or specific causes can be done via PayPal at Looking for a group philanthropy project or perhaps personal fulfillment from donating your service? Volunteer positions vary from greeting visitors in the gallery to helping in the office with programs. Positions setting up activities and events or promoting programs and exhibits are also available. To set up a time to volunteer, call 740-592-4981.

The Kroger community rewards program is another way you can contribute to the Dairy Barn Arts Center. Setting up this feature is simple and can be done on the Kroger website, Click the community rewards tab and enter Dairy Barn Arts Center Inc. Remember to save at the bottom of the page! Then every time you shop at Kroger and scan your rewards card, The Barn will receive a 5 percent donation.

Spring is in full swing with April showers, but The Dairy Barn Arts Center is offering exciting indoor events and activities for all ages. Promotion of local culture creates bonds between community members and inspires artistic expression. This is in no short supply in Athens, especially during spring festival season. Many local artists have been preparing all winter for these fantastic opportunities to share and sell their unique handcrafted goods.

What’s your favorite festival? If you’ve never been to one, what’s stopping you?