LOVE LETTER YARD SIGNS
When one sees an open lot, one typically thinks and associates the surroundings with blight, crime, poverty and race. Empty lots are found only in “certain” neighborhoods. Open lots are emblematic of the failings of a neighborhood: the lack of education, employment, resources, economic opportunities, strong bonds, etc.
Yet, that is the direct opposite of the idea and images we associate with the word, open, or the notion of openness. We envision being free, possibility, accessibility and, for some, abundance. All the things never considered while viewing an open lot; the focus lies solely on loss and less than. But this is not what I think of when I views these spaces in my childhood neighborhood; I cannot.
There is power in place. People subconsciously link their identity and value to the places they inhabit and frequent. To leave one’s home to be greeted with an open lot, I believe has psychological effects. My aim with the love letter yard signs is to challenge and, hopefully, rewrite the narrative my community has with these spaces and ultimately, themselves. To view these spaces as the beginning of whatever they deem necessary to live the lives they want to live.
Toward that end, I took lyrics from neo-soul songs which heralds all things Black love. I interjected those lyrics into signage we commonly see in our neighborhood spaces. These signs were then physically placed in the many open lots found in my childhood neighborhood.