Notes from the Artist – Gail Katz James on Fulton Favorites


Sometimes in the dead of winter in MN we tend to forget that summer ever existed, or that we have neighbors! This project by Gail Katz James is a friendly reminder of warmth (from sun and spirit)!

Fulton Favorites was funded by a grant from the Fulton Neighborhood Art Committee. (Fulton is my neighborhood in Minneapolis.) The purpose of the project was to build community by bringing neighbors of all ages together to make unique lawn signs that express their favorite aspects of our neighborhood. I held about 10 workshops this summer to teach residents how to make the signs. During the workshops, I guided the artists through the process of sketching, making a final design and translating their designs into a colorful image, simplified enough to make a good lawn sign. The settings ranged from childcare programs to block parties and park festivals. Some adults made theirs at home after picking up a packet of materials from me.

Residents made140 unique lawn signs. The materials were very user-friendly and weatherproof: 10 colors of self-adhesive vinyl on a vinyl board. The signs were installed at the park to be enjoyed as a group at the annual Fulton Fall Festival.

The best part of the event was watching people come browse through all the signs or look for their own and proudly take it home! Lastly, participants took home their signs to display on their own lawns, store over the winter and reuse year after year. (Some people are STILL exhibiting their lawn signs in the snow!)

Finally, pedestrians, bicyclists and observant drivers who see these signs on certain blocks may realize that they are passing through Fulton Neighborhood, or near it. (In the spirit of inclusivity, we did allow other neighborhood residents to participate, since many Linden Hills folks and other neighborhood residents come to our schools, parks and festivals).

Gail Katz James