The station says about a dozen sign owners, including Glenda Daniels, have accepted artist Jacob Morin’s offer:
The man best know for creating Cadillac Ranch, Stanley Marsh 3, is also responsible for creating and placing those bizarre road signs all around town years ago. Over time, Marsh’s name was dirtied with lawsuit after lawsuit claiming he sexually abused young boys. A negative image, Glenda felt, that read louder than the words on her sign.
“The situation with Stanley Marsh,” she said. “All of the background and all of his problems and I just didn’t want anything with connection in my yard to him.”
Others declined to have the signs covered over.
Jan Douglass has had her sign for some 18 years, she even met Stanley Marsh when they came out to put it up.
“It was a real iconic thing to have one of those signs and so we were just real pleased just to always have it,” said Douglass.
For her, Marsh’s misfortune has nothing to do with the signs left behind. They’re Amarillo’s art, for the community and the world.
“People have stopped by, take pictures of them. I talked to them, mostly tourists,” said Douglass. “People hear about them all over the world and I think it’s something that makes us a little unique.”
Here’s the video report from the station:
Not many people know this, but the whimsical signs — some of which are found on Route 66 — are called the Dynamite Museum. According to an archived report in the Amarillo Globe-News, the project started in the early 1990s with a solitary “Road Does Not End” sign. The newspaper says thousands of these signs — no two are the same — are sprinkled all over the region.
Of course, Marsh is best-known for his Cadillac Ranch art installation, located off Route 66 west of town. Marsh is out on bail on multiple counts of sex-abuse charges, allegedly with teenage boys.
I have very mixed feelings about this. If the charges against Marsh are true, it’s understandable some owners of the signs look at them with revulsion and would want them modified, if not removed altogether.
But the Dynamite Museum also is public art, and such artwork tends to become the people’s artwork over time and not the creator’s. As Douglass says, they help make Amarillo unique. I’m hoping not too many people take up Morin’s offer.
UPDATE 7/11/2013: KAMR-TV in Amarillo says Marsh’s people will remove the signs if the owners don’t want them anymore:
Toad Hall representatives would not comment on the story, saying only that if people want to get rid of the signs in their yards to call them at 359-1014, and they’ll remove them free of charge….. But, they would prefer not having them painted-over.
(Image of one of the Dynamite Museum signs in Amarillo, by Brandon Carpenter via Flickr)