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Kenny Be's Yard Arteology: Overland zombies emerge from underground

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The study of neighbors through their lawn ornaments...

Figure 31. Overland: Spaced out fairies, hobbits and zombies

Due to geography and street design, Overland is the south-central neighborhood that everyone drives through but no one ever sees. Its long history of invisibility has allowed Denver to pursue a plethora of underground pastimes, from horse racing and gambling to dirty dancing and the burial of nuclear waste. The RTD Southwest Light Rail Evans Station Area Plan, combined with an effort to transform the reclaimed Shattuck radium superfund site into eco-friendly apartment towers, aims to redefine the historic Overland image of being "out of sight." Obviously, the radical changes have captivated the imaginations of area residents, because every street is bursting with visionary outsider yard art.

The complete Overland experience is best captured in the yard design pictured in figure 31. The total black-plastic-and-wood-chip yard cover alludes to the history of entombed poisons and underground activities. The pair of emerging zombie sculptures represent the newly awakened residents. The overwhelming scale of the central struggling zombie, juxtaposed with the miniature version of the Statue of Liberty, suggests the anguishing experience of the decades-long struggle with the Environmental Protection Agency. The flower pots that surround the action imply contained growth. And, as with all redevelopment efforts, a strategically placed wizard is placed behind the scenes to oversee the project, while highly visible signs placed up front remind the passersby that neighborhood makeovers are made more bearable, and successful, with a basic belief in fairies.

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


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