Monday, June 26, 2006

Outhouse Art

I don't know if there's a term for the genre, but I tend to like the temporary public art installations that pop up periodically. The current one nearest to us is the Fear the Turtle thing at the University of Maryland (this one is particularly nice), which I've noticed before but Celeste and I saw a few when we went to the linguistics lab.

This morning in The Washington Post, however, there is an article about the first protest statement to build on the same idea: Outhouses of Unger [ WP | State Journal ]. To protest exurban expansion and overdevelopment in Morgan County, West Virginia, some residents of the town of Unger have set up "multicolored outhouses along county roads and the main streets of the county seat, Berkeley Springs," according to the Post. According to the Outhouses of Unger website:
We are pleased to announce the creation of a citizens group to oppose high density subdivisions. The name we have chosen is Outhouses of Unger. We chose that name for two simple reasons. The first is that the outhouse is a symbol of Morgan County and West Virginia's proud rural heritage. The goal of our group is to keep Morgan County rural. Second is that those of us that live near this development are scared to death that our wells will go dry and become contaminated from the construction of that many homes in such a small area. Our motto is "If Your Well Goes Dry, You'll Need One Of These".
The outhouses themselves look to be more protest than art, but it still is a neat project. The organizers' site even includes plans and instructions so sympathizers can build their own outhouse protest art (the designs look to be on the small side, so I don't think anyone would want to build a functional outhouse from the plans).

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