We built it and they came.

Barns: Call to Action is in the record books now and what a great time it was! From our opening reception at the Art Center of Battle Creek for the two-month exhibit (June and July), to the grand finale concert with a standing ovation for the Richard Lynch Band of Waynesville, Ohio, memories were made. Our fundraising goal was met – and then some!

Linda Holderbaum, executive director of the Art Center of Battle Creek, at an October 2019 meeting of the Center’s board, honored Barn Believers. “The great spirit, cooperation, hard work, and creativity on all levels, made Barn Believers a delight to work with.  The Barn exhibit brought in a record number of visitors for a summer exhibit and allowed us to involve a large community of artists from the state of Michigan. We look forward to partnering with you again.”

Thank you to everyone who contributed time, talent, and/or treasure – our wonderful sponsors and donors, more than 80 businesses and individuals who gave items or services for the silent auction, our speakers, staff at the Art Center, musicians, food vendors, and dozens of people who, over the course of the two months, shared barn stories or words of encouragement for the importance of our mission.

We thank the Battle Creek Community Foundation’s Fund for the Arts, for making sure that the “Heart of Heatherbrook” mural, first created in 2007 has been “barn again.” Tony Hendrick of Grand Ledge was the lead artist in 2007 and was the solo artist in 2019. The mural once again can be seen by millions who travel Michigan’s I-94 between Marshall and Battle Creek, proudly mounted on the Dreamfield Acres Barn!

If it is true that a picture speaks a thousand words, we’ll allow these images to do the talking. Barns are worth saving – Believe!

*Double Strung Band is an ”Americana” band known across southern Michigan. Classic, country, bluegrass, folk, rockabilly and gospel.

Traditional timber-frame barns are rare, irreplaceable, economic assets. Professionals who dispel misinformation and provide tips for sound decision making are:

Jan Corey Arnett, Battle Creek, author of American Barns, writes a monthly barn feature for Michigan Farmer. Co-founder of Barn Believers, she shares insight into the significance of timber-frame barns, challenges faced, and issues a call for action in image and story

Ken Brock, owner of Legendary Timberworks, Novi. Ken discusses benchmark projects involving rehabilitation of foundations, timer-frame repairs, and extensive work to transform old barns giving them new lives. He specializes in historic structures and has worked on log cabins, timber-frame barns and homes, from the 1830s up. Ken offers tips on issues faced.

Tom Nehil, of Nehil-Sivak, a Kalamazoo structural engineering firm, explains how evaluation is done of timber-frame barns, followed by crafting a strategy for repair, renovations, or reuse. Understanding the strengths and limitations of barns allows informed decision making. Tom teaches wood identification, timber-framing, and stone masonry with Tillers International.

Jim Slining, curator with Tillers International, Scotts. Jim has long been fascinated by hand-forged barn hardware. Sharing examples of items found in old barns from door latches to gates, Jim brings to light the purpose and beauty of things taken for granted.

Tim Wasielewski, owner of Michigan Heartland Reclaimed Lumber, Jackson. Tim is called when a barn is taken down. He dismantles and salvages as much as possible to repurpose a ban's bones. Tim separates fact from fiction, shares examples of how wood is reclaimed, and offers words of wisdom for working effectively with a dismantler.