The hamlet of High Falls, population 625, has no traffic light, but it is blessed with three restaurants, a deli, a coffee shop, a food coop and a spiffy outdoor pizza parlor. On a pleasant weekend day, that gastronomic bounty draws quite a crowd from nearby towns. As restaurant lots fill up, their cars and SUVs roam about in search of parking.
Bruceville Road is where they used to find those coveted spots. This summer, residents became annoyed with the interlopers encroaching on their lawns and blocking their driveways. They asked the Town of Marbletown to let searchers know that parking is actually illegal on both sides of this narrow county road. Soon the road was dotted with dayglo orange parking cones. They did keep cars away, but were a bit of an eyesore.
Fortunately, artist Barbara Bash lives on Bruceville Road. Where others saw ugly traffic cones, she saw a canvas for her creative talents. As she recently shared on her blog, she was “happy to do something to beautify, cheer myself and maybe others, and bring some play to a contentious situation.”
Bash started with pipe cleaners and blue duct tape, but soon she deployed other bold colors and other materials, like curly willow stalks that she wrapped in red to simulate flames, aluminum tape and glass stick-ons. At first she decorated the cones outside her house, but soon her neighbors brought her cones and tape and asked her to gussy up theirs too. The street is now lined with Barbara Bash originals. She gleefully calls these “guerilla art cones.”
Bash can occasionally be seen on Bruceville Road touching up her conical creations as inspiration strikes her. They’ve served their purpose, delighting neighbors and visitors alike, while overflow parking makes its way to a municipal lot a few hundred yards away.
To see more of Bash’s work, check out her show at the Stone Ridge Library, that is exhibiting and selling her original artwork for a series of award-winning children’s books about the American desert, old growth forests, Indian banyan trees, brown bats, black-footed ferrets and urban birds. The exhibit will run through October.