I met with Jennifer on February 22, 2015. She is a visual artist who lives in the Mexican War Streets and her word is "Zombies." In addition to the interactive element of the installation (she and her husband will playfully scare passersby who are checking out the word, growling and snarling like zombies) it also exemplifies the educational possibility of public art. She notes:“It helps people grow. And I think there are kids around here who might never get a chance to go to the museums, or they only know art through popular culture or music and when they see pieces like this on somebody’s home I think they take ownership of it in a really great way. It becomes a part of their identity in a way that maybe afterschool arts programs or parental efforts might not be able to reach fully. …Kids, kids in the summer. When they are just knocking around the neighborhood I’ll notice that kids who might be kind of bored and who might be normally causing trouble haven’t thrown rocks or tried to take down any of the signs. They start asking neighbors questions. They start getting really excited about it and say, “Maybe I can put one on my house!” They come up with ideas and it brings out the best in kids, and then they get to talk to their family and friends about it. And I love seeing that light burn in kids I don’t even know. Don’t cry, don’t cry. It makes me feel really excited because it seems like a little thing, it’s a word on a wall, but its magical. Its really fun.”
Thanks, Jennifer! Transcript follows.