Kenny Be's Yard Arteology

The study of neighbors through their lawn ornaments.

Figure 2. Lincoln Park: Our Lavender Lady of the Plaster Pullets

The Virgin Mary is the undisputed ruler of Denver yard art. She's as common as snowstorms in January, and appears in drifts across the city. But like snowflakes, no two virgins are alike. The individualized decorating of standard-issue yard center Mary statues provides vital clues to the amateur yard arteologist about the personality traits of each and every homeowner.

The spare color palette of this Mary, along with her placement in a Flintstones-style shelter made up of discarded concrete slabs, may at first glance indicate that this homeowner is a cheapskate traditionalist. But the oversized plaster pullet and seemingly haphazard placement of the decorative border say so much more. That the black edging has been pulled open and staked back says that the residents of this house need a little bit of freedom. Placing the big hen, the international symbol of gossip, next to the standoffish virgin is an open invitation of friendship to all neighbors who can tolerate an uncertain degree of casual conformity. The rubber nipple at the hen's foot suggests that the babies of this house are now toddlers and no longer drink from baby bottles.

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