Monday, September 04, 2006

Stump Art on Ladd Avenue in the Ladd's Addition, Inner Southeast Portland

Before I get into this post, let me give you a short commercial for the Serendipity Art Show at the Mississippi State Hospital. The show is Thursday, September 7, from 11:00 am until 6:00 pm. According to, there's a Poetry Jam, too. For more information contact: Public Relations Mississippi State Hospital in Whitfield at (601) 351-8018. This is the art show where I got 95 percent of my original artwork. The silent auction is a blast.

Now to the post . . .

One sunny day, riding the #10 Harold bus home from work a few weeks ago, a glimpse of something like I'd never seen before flitted across my mind. I wondered, in fact, if I'd really seen what I thought I saw--toys on a stump on the side of Ladd Avenue, beneath the canopy of tall trees? That was a Thursday.

On Saturday, I rode slowly along Ladd Avenue in the Buick, looking on the west side of the street for what I had decided to call stump art. There it was, near one of the round-abouts that keep people from gunning their motors in this and many of the lovely, old neighborhoods in this city. I parked and got out, camera in hand.

Pictured below is what I saw, but you don't believe it any more than I did, right?

Children's toys arranged artfully, humorously and carefully atop a tree stump, standing between a busy sidewalk and a busy street, in front of a greenish-grayish painted, two-story house. How come no one walks off with the toys, I marvelled?

Here's what I think.

In the part of Portland I've been exposed to, folks let other people be. I suspect it's that way all across the city, the metropolitan area even. They let them be who they want to be, without consequence, without judgment.

That's a blanket statement, I realize, but you come up here, sit out front of a cafe or wait at a bus stop, and see if you don't pretty soon agree.

I believe this extends into letting artistic or creative expressions exist for the enjoyment of all, no matter how large or small, whether it's on a stump or a person's skin or hair or clothing.

It's really quite refreshing and encouraging to me. It's power-giving, too, in the sense that if you're left alone to be and therefore appreciated for whatever you've decided to be, then there's no holding you back.

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