Drivers on Interstate 88 in Schoharie County may have noticed that a barn along the highway is sporting an attractive new quilt board.
Quilt boards, a form of folk art in which a quilt pattern is painted on the side of a barn, can be spotted along the popular Schoharie County Quilt Barn Trail.
The new quilt board reads: “Respect for All,” and its presence signals a movement emerging in the county.
In 2016, local resident Glen Sanders introduced a resolution “Encouraging Respect for All” before the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors.
It passed on February 17, 2017.
Since then, school officials in Cobleskill-Richmondville and Sharon Springs have issued similar statements, while an online petition is calling for the “Respect for All” phrase to be the motto for the entire county.
The new “Respect for All” quilt board was painted and installed by Sharon Springs residents and artists Mike Shuster and Lisa Zaccaglini.
They, along with other local citizens, have partnered with the recently launched Institute for Rural Vitality at SUNY Cobleskill to include the themes of welcome, respect and inclusivity in county promotional and economic development efforts.
The new quilt board was installed in its highly visible spot to do just that.
Jason Evans, director of the Institute for Rural Vitality at SUNY Cobleskill, said there are a number of ways in which the Institute will work with county and local governments, organizations and the business community to further economic development efforts in the area and to brand Schoharie County as an Upstate New York gem.
“The ‘Respect for All’ theme is a key component of the county’s messaging to the rest of the world as it suggests that our historic Main Streets and beautiful open spaces are places to live, work and play – for everyone,” Dr. Evans said.
SUNY Cobleskill President Dr. Marion A. Terenzio notes that the Board of Supervisors’ 2017 resolution and the “Respect for All” initiative mirror the college’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity.
“We are deeply committed to showing respect for everyone in our county and beyond, and support efforts to further that message,” said President Terenzio.
“SUNY Cobleskill students, faculty and staff come to us from all walks of life and all corners of the globe, contributing to the vibrant mix that makes our county an exceptional place to live and work.”
Other area residents are pursuing initiatives to broaden the use and deepen understanding of the phrase.
Mr. Sanders and Paul Conroy, psychology and marketing experts respectively, have worked with SUNY Cobleskill Agricultural Business students to help integrate the “Respect for All” message into student and faculty consultancy projects with local businesses.
Susan Spivack has created and distributed “Respect for All” buttons to area residents, businesses, libraries, organizations and government offices.
Plans for 2018 include development and distribution of stickers, signs and other “Respect for All” promotional items for circulation to Schoharie County businesses that wish to include the red and white quilt logo in their own marketing efforts.
“The Institute for Rural Vitality at SUNY Cobleskill will support the initiative as it morphs and grows into a natural and uplifting piece of how residents, visitors and entrepreneurs view Schoharie County,” said Dr. Evans.