Vandalism can be done in many ways: spray paint, toilet paper and in my experience, an old ant-filled couch that somehow landed in my front yard in the 10th grade. But the vandalism I witnessed at the Ormond Memorial Art Museum and Gardens was like nothing I had ever seen before.
A scarf. A beautifully knitted scarf was wrapped around the neck of the garden’s alligator statue.
Gardener Janett Van Wicklen-Taylor discovered the gator a few weeks before Christmas, and Museum Director Susan Richmond said this might be a case of “yarnbombing.”
“People have just started doing this out of Portland, Oregon,” Richmond said. “They’ll knit hats and scarves for statues. It just makes people smile so much.”
Yarnbombing is described as a public art display of knitting, and the outcomes are everything from adorable to holy-cow-awesome. A photo essay by “Time Magazine” shows that knitters have created cozy works of art on tanks, sidewalk cracks and very large trees.
This global phenomenon seemed to have it’s moment back in 2011, but I was in college and not paying attention to the world, so let’s give it an Ormond Beach moment now. Though graffiti used to be seen as a sure sign of a bad town, my generation (I can take credit without actually doing anything, right?) has almost reinvented to word. The museum’s own Kristin Heron painted a gorgeous whale mural on walls of the old gas station on West Granada Boulevard for Ormond Mainstreet’s inaugural art festival. At that same time local artist Lucia Fanning took over the windows of a vacant parole building and made it into abstract art. So yeah, even our town’s graffiti is cute.
Does this mean we can expect to see knitted displays of art all over the town’s light posts, benches and bike stands? Will some brave knitter, who hopefully owns a tall boat, have the courage to knit a scarf for the Granada Bridge? Probably not. But a girl can dream.
Though we can credit some public displays, the alligator’s yarnbomber remains a mystery. And it may not even be a yarnbomber (sigh). Richmond says this isn’t the first time the gator has been “vandalized.”
“Last year around the same time he had big red bow around his neck,” Richmond said. “I think he has a secret admirer.”
It could be the work of one of the dozens of families that like to take their holiday photos in the gardens. Maybe they just left a prop behind and didn’t realize the severe impact it would have on this community.
But still, I’d like to think that Ormond Beach is creative enough to welcome this type of artistic display. I mean hey, you’d get the press for it.