September 4, 2012

Creative labor celebrated on Charlotte Yard Art Day

More than 300 “yardists” from South Charlotte to the town of Davidson participated in the event, held on Labor Day and organized by local photographer Deborah Triplett.

Cars slowed, windows rolled down and necks turned to get a better view.

No, it wasn’t another celebrity sighting during the DNC. It was the reaction of drivers during Charlotte’s first Yard Art Day on Monday. Organized by photographer Deborah Triplett, it attracted around 300 participants in neighborhoods from South Charlotte to Davidson, all who created original works of art and displayed them in their front yards for Labor Day.

“That reaction is what I wanted to happen when I came up with the idea a few months ago,” said Triplett from her home in central Charlotte’s Plaza Midwood neighborhood, as her creation of a mannequin decorated with paint, flowers and a hot pink tutu adorned her lawn. “It gave neighbors who may not have talked before a chance to start conversations and view art in a nonjudgmental way.”

Although professional artists Ruth Ava Lyons and Cher Cosper were among the “yardists,” Triplett designed the day for everyone no matter what their skill level.

“I wanted it to be about the joy of creation, not results,” she said. “Like a kid with a box of crayons who doesn’t care what people think about his drawing.”

Some works were as simple as scraps of fabric wrapped around the trunks of trees in colorful patterns. Others required weeks of effort.

Lynn Kera, who lives in Robinson Woods off Sardis Road, made it a family project. She and her son, Ivan Mallon, 10, created a six-foot-tall angel made from recycled materials, using old fence boards for the body and paint-stirring sticks as a halo. “I was the cheap labor,” joked her husband, Matthew Mallon.

Ivan originally wanted it to include a temple and lights, but his mother convinced him that it was best to keep it simple.

“Since the DNC was going to be here, at first I thought maybe we would do something that made a political statement, but instead we decided to go with something more unifying.”

They expressed themselves by writing personal affirmations at the bottom, then painting over them. “I wrote ‘Create Love,’ ” said Ivan.

Around 200 yardists were supposed to end the day with a bit of performance art by dancing down Triplett’s street. The rain washed that idea away, but she’s already thinking about next year.

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