Rethink Your Lawn! Concept Mockups

View the project overview here and the entire project here.

Project goal: to brighten downtown with regionally specific art, to invite Dayton residents to explore the overlooked historical context of the American lawn, and to empower Dayton citizens to make ecologically informed decisions about their outdoor space.

This project represents a synthesis of applied anthropology and studio art in the service of public beautification and education. The finished installation will consist of five planter boxes with modified “trellis” panels. Each of the planter boxes will feature a live plant native to southwestern Ohio.

  • Three of the panels will each display a small mural highlighting the symbiotic relationship between one of Ohio’s native plants and one or more of the animals that depend on it.
  • Two of the panels will display interpretive text informing viewers of how the turfgrass lawn became an American ideal, the benefits of considering alternative lawnscapes, and strategies for developing eco-friendly and community-friendly lawn management practices.

Preliminary concept sketches for the boxes, mural panels, interpretive text, and plantings.

Sketch of a planter box highlighting the symbiosis the purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) shared with both the silvery checkerspot butterfly (Chlosyne nycteis) and the American goldfinch (Spinus tristis). A painted mural depicts the plant and animal life, while a small interpretive box explains the relationship.
A sketch of one of the boxes with an interpretive panel.
A mural panel and planter box featuring flowering dogwood (Cornus florida). Reliant animal species to be determined and added.
How the exhibit might look in person. Five boxes planned, three shown here.