Secret’s out: Quilt Gardens, Seward Johnson are a big summer deal

By Terry T. Mark

Perhaps you’ve heard?

OK, it’s not much of a secret on what we’ve been working on anymore. The Seward Johnson sculpture exhibition and Quilt Gardens displays have been huge hits to start the summer.

The 56 life-size sculptures were installed in the downtowns and Quilt Gardens of Elkhart, Goshen, Nappanee, Wakarusa, Middlebury and Bristol from May 15-17, while the 25-foot-tall, 27,000-pound monumental was installed in Elkhart’s Central Park on May 22. If you were there, you were left awestruck by the spectacle of a crane lifting these massive figures into place.

Here’s a look at some great photos captured by our staff and others in the community:

The Quilt Gardens were planted over the course of several days, and we’re appreciative of the many volunteers who put in a lot of sweat equity to plant, weed, water and monitor the gardens and maintain high standards of quality.

Already, the sculptures and gardens have been a huge hit for local residents and visitors alike. Who hasn’t noticed the constant stream of people in each downtown and to the gardens and the smiles on their faces? Priceless.

And who isn’t totally charmed by this YouTube slideshow created by Idris Busari of Goshen:

Marketing minute

With all the fun we’re having this summer with Quilt Gardens and Seward Johnson sculptures, this has to be shared, right?

Here’s how you can play along with us.

• Summer Selfie with a Sculpture Contest: Anyone can enter, and it’s free! Starting May 25 and going until July 4, posting a selfie with any of the sculptures on Facebook or Instagram and using the hashtag #EpicArtAdventures will be entered in a contest for prizes. The prize drawing will be July 5 and prizes will be mailed by the ECCVB to the winners. To donate a prize, contact Janis Logsdon at, 574-262-8161 (work) or 574-326-8392 (mobile).

• Have fun with this! Feel free to create activities that will reach out to anyone visiting your location for the sculptures or the gardens.

• Share the love a little bit. One of the things most people love about our #EpicArtAdventures is the discovery aspect, of exploring and finding new things throughout Elkhart County. You can encourage this by offering helpful tips and suggestions to help people enjoy the city and other attractions.

• Promote through your usual communications channels (i.e. newsletters, emails, social media, advertising). In particular, please join us in sharing, liking and commenting on the ECCVB’s social media posts on Facebook. If you share on your own, don’t forget the hashtags #EpicArtAdventures and #QuiltGardens.

• From guides to online resources, we have many tools to help people find their way around. We have already distributed more than 15,000 Epic Art Guides and have ordered another printing. They are available online for download as well at There is an Epic Art Adventures section on the Heritage Trail Adventures App available for free at the app store. The app will give you turn-by-turn directions to the sculpture closest to you based upon your location.

• If your organization takes pictures, you should abide by the guidelines set forth in Seward Johnson’s partner statement.

By the numbers


Number of Epic Art Guides of the Seward Johnson sculptures that have already been distributed. (We’ve had to order more copies already!)

Hot Takes: The Latest and the Greatest

• The Elkhart Jazz Festival will be here before you know it (June 23-25), and it got a great write-up in the Chicago Tribune along with many other popular Elkhart stops.

• Want a chance to show how much you love Elkhart County, or even just your neighborhood here? Be at the Crystal Ballroom in Elkhart on July 12 for the more details on the Little Big Idea Grant, an initiative of Vibrant Communities.

• Quirky travel website Atlas Obscura has been building up its library of suggested trips to Indiana, including this take on the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum. The Hall of Heroes Superhero Museum also rates a mention, as well as a curious relic of the past in Elkhart.

Terry T. Mark is the director of communications and public relations for the Elkhart County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

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