A new art installation comprised of over 500 individual quilt blocks is now on display in St. Jacobs.

Artist Brenda Reid came up with the idea for the community art project almost two years ago and asked the public for help.

Since then, Reid has collected 569 individual submissions, including from schools, libraries and the women’s prison in Kitchener.

“Going to the post box, it was like Christmas every week,” Reid said.

Each piece of the quilt describes a unique and sometimes emotional experience related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The patches are all tied together.

“The tying both separates the quilt blocks from each other, like the distance we've had to have,” Reid explained. “But those ties are like our essential community ties, keeping the whole quilt together.”

The “From Behind the Mask Quilt” is now the inaugural display at the new Three Sisters Cultural Centre in St. Jacobs.

“It’s wonderful to have this come in to celebrate not only the two year anniversary of the pandemic,” said Jax Rula, Three Sisters Cultural Centre artistic director. “But the end of a two year journey for the three sisters putting this cultural centre together.”

Organizers see the giant quilt’s many pieces as reflecting on emotions still very present today.

“Some of us will want to wear a mask and some won’t, some will be a little more nervous and others aren't,” said Rula. “Can we do this as a community? Can we find love and peace and fellowship together as we move forward?”