M?aybe a gum chewer was just being ??impolite, pressing wads of chaw onto the base of an electrical post he passed regularly in the Discovery District. Then again, perhaps what started as one person's poor excuse for a trash can evolved - with other people adding to the "project" until an eye-catching pattern formed.Maybe a gum chewer was just being ??impolite, pressing wads of chaw onto the base of an electrical post he passed regularly in the Discovery District. Then again, perhaps what started as one person's poor excuse for a trash can evolved - with other people adding to the "project" until an eye-catching pattern formed. Who knows?
Maybe a gum chewer was just being ??impolite, pressing wads of chaw onto the base of an electrical post he passed regularly in the Discovery District.
Then again, perhaps what started as one person’s poor excuse for a trash can evolved — with other people adding to the “project” until an eye-catching pattern formed.
Regardless, the Downtown structure outside the Topiary Garden in the Deaf School Park resembles a canvas of sorts for what seems a bit like art.
“It’s hilarious,” said Thomas Murphy, a groundskeeper at the park — whose daughter is an artist.
“It’s kind of clever.”
Throughout the city and neighboring suburbs, similar curiosities are found.
Yet unlike graffiti, which is considered a societal scourge, such efforts aren’t easily endorsed, denounced or even defined by art experts and others.
“If they’re not damaging someone’s property and wanting to provoke thought or humor, that would be a good thing,” said Kelly Malec-Kosak, chairwoman of the Fine Arts Department at the Columbus College of Art & Design.
“I always want to encourage experimentation, but you have to look at who’s cleaning it up.”
In the case of the gum wads, cleaning duties have yet to be assigned.
So the collection endures, sometimes compelling a closer look from passers-by, who might laugh, be disgusted or respond in another way.
Farther north, dozens of running shoes hang like ornaments from a tree near Thomas Worthington High School.
The result of an initiation or a celebration?
That’s only a guess.
“I’m not familiar with any sort of ‘Where did these shoes come from?’ story or any tradition that could have put them there,” Vikki Gnezda, a Worthington school spokeswoman, said after checking with several longtime officials.
A similar mystery surrounds the handful of padlocks attached to a chain-link fence at Antrim Lake.
Initials of sweethearts (DB and SB), along with hearts, are etched into one Master lock; another (“KNH & NJM”) is dated December 2010.
A locked-in-love exhibit?
Alan McKnight, director of the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, couldn’t say.He wasn’t aware of the locks.
McKnight did recall once catching art students watching observers react to a mosaic of berries they created along a sidewalk at the Park of Roses.
Such displays, he said, seem “fairly innocent.”
In Marble Cliff, the knitted sleeves covering the pole of a “No parking” sign hold less of a mystery.
“Nobody’s supposed to know who did it,” said the “artist,” Barbara Amatos, explaining how her cover was blown when she needed longer than expected to stitch the sections to the pole, in front of her house.
Her yarn work, she said, is “just a way to say: ‘I’m here. Look at me. I’m not just another resident.’??”
Though faded, the colors (blue, red and gray) are meant to represent those of Grandview Heights schools, the Ohio State Buckeyes and America, she said.
The covering, Amatos conceded, suggests “a form of graffiti.”
“But all I have to do is go out with a pair of scissors, and it’s gone,” she said.
Eccentric and surprising, such creations, Malec-Kosak said, serve as “an unexpected way for people to encounter art.”
“People who are intimidated by galleries or museums can still encounter things that are interesting, and (those) may inspire them to go different places and appreciate it.”
If nothing else, she said, such displays might lift spirits.
“They’re interesting things to come across, and (they might) change your day a little before you grudgingly trudge off to work.”