Artist accentuates the positive at Tashmoo Overlook

Artist accentuates the positive at Tashmoo Overlook

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Artist Julia Kidd placed this sign to greet people coming home after spring break. — Steve Myrick

Like a spring flower, last Sunday a sign sprouted in the field off the Tashmoo Overlook, with the message, “Of course I have not forgotten you.”

The public art project is the work of local artist and psychotherapist Julia Kidd. “The sign went up on April 27th to greet people arriving home from spring break and for all of us having made it made it through a cold winter,” Ms. Kidd wrote in an email to The Times on Tuesday.

The sign is a follow on to a more ambitious project in April 2012 when she installed several temporary signs with positive messages in locations around the Island, including a banner across Edgartown’s Main Street. That project took more than a year to secure permission from town officials and private owners.

Over the last year many people have asked me if I was going to do the piece again,” Ms. Kidd said. “The unexpected and anonymous element that was so essential to the project cannot be repeated, but I wanted to send the message that the love is still out there, all around us, eternally. We just need to be reminded at times.”

Ms. Kidd said the new sign will be up for about one more week, but she declined to be more specific. “I don’t like to reveal the details, as much as you reporters love them — as the mystery is a part of the process of life and love.”


  1. what makes this ok on town property? imagine the outrage if it was any kind of right wing or second amendment sign, i personally think its some sort of jesus fodder and doesnt belong there

    1. No, it’s not Jeebus fodder.

      “The perfect woman indulges in literature just as she indulges in a small sin: as an experiment, in passing, looking around to see if anybody notices it — and to make sure that somebody does.” — Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols

      It is a cry for help; for attention.

      MS. Kidd needs a man, or a baby, or a cat. Given the size of the cry, I would say all three.

      Hey, you can’t delete this comment! It’s ART!

      No, seriously, it is.

      This is postmodern “art.”

      All the reactions to the “art” are part the “art.”

      She’s an artist, I’m an artist, you’re an artist; everyone’s an artist!

      Everyone is everything!

  2. Ceci n’est pas l’art.

    It is, however, appropriate for, and typical of, the free-range lunatic asylum that is Vineyard Haven.

    Although, I am not sure how it got past the Citizen’s Committee to Save the View to Lake Tashmoo.

  3. Hideous, trite and smug. Who is worse- Ms. Kidd for inflicting this on us or the town for allowing it?

  4. Another excellent example of typically-Vineyard, bland mediocrity passing itself off as art. Martha’s Vineyard sure likes to celebrate the mundane.

    1. I saw a similar work recently, in another unexpected place. It said “Employees Must Wash Hands”.

      1. I heard that a real artist has approached the VH S&S to cover over the flaccid mural painted there with a great plan to paint a meaningful and inspiring art sign: “No soup for you!” Now that is art I could live with.

  5. Sending a big thank you to Julia for taking her time and $ to do something so kind and loving for everyone returning this Spring….our young people and summer residents.

  6. I thought those signs were made to come down and not to be put back up due to the outrage! Who is allowing this? Hope they are up for reelection somewhere!

  7. Can another artist do a performance piece called “Sledgehammer Meets Pretentious Nuisance”?

  8. I know art when I see it. Thats not it. Why not clutter the landscape with another morbid roadside memorial? Enough of the ugly clutter on the island landscape! Remove the sign, enough is enough. It was cute the first time, now its just annoying.

  9. Where else but here can people get apoplectic over replacing rotten buildings with a new supermarket but allow pristine landscapes to be marred by this ghastly dreck. Shame on all who created and allowed this trite garbage to pollute our island.

    1. It’s a whimsically installed art project. Get over it ! Tell me more about the pristine landscape. What plants are growing there that you feel need to be protected from 2 4″ inch post holes.

  10. First, it’s obnoxious, intrusive art, if it can even be called art. Second, it detracts from one of the islands most scenic water views. Can we order a series of these for your yard, COD?

  11. Wow. I just heard that there were a lot of negative comments posted- couldn’t believe it. The remarks I’ve heard from friends, colleagues and neighbors have all been so positive. As have those of visitors from Philadelphia, Boston, and New Hampshire who are here this weekend. Clearly the commentary on this site is not representative of those who actually live, work and visit the Island, and don’t have the time to post…they just share the good energy and appreciation for the message…

    1. You and they are likely ignorant of the fact that a Tisbury pitchfork committee forced the owners of the adjacent Tashmoo Farm into cutting down trees on their property, to preserve the OH SO IMPORTANT VIEW at this site. A prominent committee member’s very prominently visible dump of a property is, IRON(S)ically, directly opposite the overlook. This sort of hysterical hypocritical CRONEyism is the essence of the Vineyard today. By which I mean cancer.

      1. You, Benoit, are out of line. why don’t you show this to your mother and father and see what they think? I’d be embarrassed to have a child of mine mocking our fellow citizens. Maybe you should make an appointment to see Julia Kidd, she might be able to help you.
        Did you know that lots of people are not enjoying your sarcasm? I was told you are a poet. Show me!
        Anyway, so sorry for you. and I wish others would stop hitting the ‘up’ arrow, which just eggs him on. grow up.

        1. I thought he was right on point with his comment. That’s why I hit the up arrow. I thought that was what it was for.

          1. I very much doubt that the person he is referring to had anything to do with the view committee. She is a hardworking woman who has earned everything she has. The people on the view committee are doing something good for everyone.They worked with the owners to open the view to what it was before the trees grew in, not like you and others who only guffaw back and forth like a bunch of fourth graders.

          2. Here is the thing about living in a free society: the records of whose hands were and are in the public cookie jar are public, and are generally required to be by law.

            I realize you live in the Banana Republic of Tisbury, where if one wanted to find the minutes of selectmen’s meetings past through their website, one finds a blank page instead.

            But even in a closed regime such as yours, information has a way of leaking out.

            “The hurricane two weeks ago did some interesting pruning. I will never look at another willow tree the same again. On a property in Edgartown an enormous one came down in a neighborhood. It must have measured five feet around and was easily 50 feet tall. It somehow (by the grace of God) missed the pool, garage, neighbor’s house, and the surrounding trees. The inside was totally devastated by termites or carpenter ants — pure sawdust. Only six inches of life at the bark was holding it in place. Chuck Wiley told me that this is the nature of willows. Why couldn’t the willows at the water’s edge of the Tashmoo Overlook suffer a similar fate?” — Vineyard Gazette, November 15, 2007

            What kind of MONSTER could wish DEATH on innocent TREES?

        2. Don’t agree. “Free range lunatic asylum” is creative and funny and true. It’s all relative. Some people should be embarrassed by their million anti Stop and Shop posts, but they’re not. I think it’s out of line to tell someone to see a shrink because it sounds like mocking to me. This guy made some of the best, most on target comments here

          1. No, not creative or funny, and definitely not true. mocking is personal and offensive. You bring down the quality of the argument with your nasty personal attacks that almost no one is reading at this point, thank goodness.

        3. Why don’t I … show this … to my … mother … and … father.


          I disowned my father, I advise my mother, not t’other way ’round, it has been 25 years since my last confession, and I am old enough to be President of these United States–and more fit to be than the war criminal who will soon disgrace us yet again with his presence.

          Some have called me a poet, others have called me a terrorist, still others–other things. I am a mirror, like the sign on the hill.

          I will tell you this: if all you know of poetry is love and Nature and the nature of Love, you have wasted your life.

    2. Would you like to borrow a pair of rose-colored glasses? They’re of no use to me, I’m weary of walking into buildings when I wear them.

  12. Actually, Leslie, these comments are coming straight from people who live and work here who find these signs cloying and distasteful. Perhaps some enjoy them, and while I find this as difficult to grasp, I accept it, in the same way that I understand some people like forms of music I find excruciating to listen to. However, to place these signs in public areas where anyone driving by is forced to see them, unless they shut their eyes and risk colliding with oncoming traffic, is to impose them. We have a no-billboard policy on the island, yet this is OK? Heaven forbid someone post a sign saying “I Love America” or “Proud Patriot”- they’d be run out of town.

    1. No one puts up a sign in public, that stays up, unless the Town has, through one committee or other, said it was ok. In this case it is a benign whimsical oddity that occupys your windshield for a few seconds as you drive by— and those that like the friendly sentiment can pull over and spend time with it as part of the viewscape.

      Apparently these haters are very sensitive art and nature lovers whose delicate aesthetics are threatened by temporary signage art.

      They need to toughen-up— or at least learn to blink as they drive by— since they seem at risk of heart attack from art attack…

      1. No, Barebone, we are not such delicate flowers that we wilt at the sight of something we don’t care for. However, in all fairness this should open the doors to a variety of freedom of expression signs in visible spaces so we’re not just cherry picking “Eat Pray Love”-style New Age Cooing. I dislike the signs and don’t want to see them. I don’t hate art and expression, but I am one of the many people, probably a Silent Majority, who find these signs trite and tacky and wish the town would exercise discretion and discrimination in these kinds of decisions.

  13. It is called an installation, and meant to evoke a response.
    For me, it was a sweet surprise, and I had a great look at the beautiful view before I noticed the sign. As a psychotherapist, Julia Kidd must be thrilled to see such emotional response, and perhaps like many, wonders where the rage comes from.

    1. It is called graffiti.

      The rage is directed towards those who permitted it, and towards those who think a person cannot be thoroughly familiar with the concept and execution of postmodern “art” and still thoroughly despise it.

      1. While I think Mr. Baldwin has made several excellent points in these threads, I would gently suggest refraining from ad hominem attacks, as this dilutes the extremely valid points he makes.

          1. It’s understandable that Ms. Kidd’s friends want to be supportive, and even say they love her silly signs. Many of us who are objective, though, view the signs as the artistic equivalent of a yellow smiley face saying, “Have a nice day”. What is worse, though, and irksome to many people, and rightly so, is that the therapist pretends that this is a good idea for everyone, imposed on everyone, including the many ignored, forgotten, and suffering locals. News about these “forgotten ones” is in the paper every week– about their addictions, homelessness, need for food stamps, etc. Maybe tourists and friends of the therapist think this is a pleasant enough idea, but I have yet to hear anyone say one word that critically explains why this is art or even a good idea. It is not. It isn’t just that it is a platitude– it’s that is seems like a slap in the face to too many who are forgotten.

          2. ok, i am open to all of these comments, and doing my best to be objective… there is nothing new to having different opinions about public art projects- they are meant to evoke individual feelings and reactions- the degree of anger and coarse and mean personal sentiments diminishes the level of communication here- not necessarily your last statement but certainly of many others here.

          3. Going public with one’s daily affirmations, better left in the therapist’s office, opens one up to abuse, unfortunately. But just because a therapist makes a sign out of said affirmations, that does not mean it is a public art project. Ms. Kidd is a practicing psychotherapist and she has been for years. She has not lived a life as a committed artist. When was the last time you read an art (or poetry, or dance, or theater) review on this island that was actually honest and critical, no matter how trite, undeveloped, or derivative the work? Not everyone with a creative idea is an artist, even if this is Martha’s Vineyard. Except for the surprise aspect, I find nothing interesting about the sign, and I see how it could upset some people– but upsetting people does not make it art.

        1. It is important to distinguish between the standalone logical fallacy argumentum ad hominem, e.g., “Your argument is invalid, BECAUSE you are a bad person.” and adjunctive abusive argumentum ad hominem, e.g., “Your argument is invalid, because [reasoned argument]. You are a bad person for making an invalid argument, and you are ridiculous in other ways, too.” The latter is a time-honored and effective rhetorical device used by satirists from Juvenal to Jon Stewart–as well as by politicians, for example:

          “I can’t think of anything more important to the public as a view shed,” [Tisbury Selectman] Mr. [Tristan] Israel said. “The idea of doing something for the greater public good apparently is not important to the Payettes. We have tried everything – we were civil, we offered alternatives, and basically, we were stonewalled.” [MV Times, August 14, 2008]

          Selectman Israel’s argumentum ad hominem, restated: “The view at the Tashmoo Overlook is important to the public, and the owners of Tashmoo Farm are selfish SELFISH people for ruining it.”

          Tens of thousands of dollars of Community Preservation Act monies–taxpayer funds–were spent, and are being spent, in furtherance of the idea that the view at this site is historical, significant, and worthy of preservation for enjoyment by the public–ALL THE PUBLIC.

          From the study published in 2013 by the Vineyard Open Land Foundation, prepared for the Citizen’s Committee to Save the View to Lake Tashmoo:

          “The majority of the view is over a twenty-four acre Town-owned property, which includes the large field over which the view lies, the sledding hill, the amphitheater, Tashmoo Pond and the newly-restored Spring Building.”


          “The survey map below also shows the Tashmoo Overlook turnoff at the bottom of the page, which is a small strip of land along the State Road in Tisbury purchased in 1958 by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to create a turnoff, so that the people of Martha’s Vineyard, as well as its visitors, would have a safe place to stop and enjoy the historic view.”

          So, the sledding hill, into which this piece of…. “art” was inserted, is the property of the Town of Tisbury, but the view of it belongs to everyone.

          Well, EVERYONE, now that you are all here, how many of you voted for this? Never mind–the answer is known: two people. Two Tisbury selectmen (the third was absent that day). I suppose, since they were duly elected, you could add, by representative extension, the few hundred Tisbury voters who voted for them.

          Finally, consider the notion put forth above that this installation is “meant to provoke a response.” We could call this: “Art as a non-consensual population experiment.” How does it feel to be treated as a laboratory animal instead of a human being? My response: let us begin by gnawing off the experimenters’ fingertips, and end by making dessert of their eyeballs.


          1. Uh…….OK, now you’re sounding like an absolute wacko. I consider the signs a gaudy public nuisance, but after reading this last sentence, maybe the signs are the lesser of two evils.

  14. Of course, I should have known that psychobabble new age fruitery would tickle some people pink……….

  15. This is the age of the ”hashtag” Since Mrs Obama has put up a sign to free the Nigerian schoolgirls, I guess Ms Kidd should be able to do this one.

  16. At the end of the day the jokes on me- why am I surprised that town officials exercise poor judgment, an artist produces cloying schmaltz, and a segment of the island laps up Stuart Smalley-style insipid new age cooing? I should know the island better by now.

  17. If only there was as much outrage over the hundreds of junked up properties that are a blight on the land.

  18. It is such a shame that people feel it is necessary to put down a woman who is putting herself out there, putting up signs to share loving thoughts and giving people a brief experience of art and poetry, in an unexpected way… she is your neighbor, a healer who helps people live healthier lives, the mother of a child raised on our beautiful island, she has made a huge difference in my life and helped me and my family, she is an artist and a psychotherapist, and most of all a person, and these posts are downright nasty and hurtful. Why don’t you listen to your mama and keep your mouth shut unless you have something nice to say, it is pure meanness and i am ashamed that this is what we say about eachother here.

    1. In the threads below, I have actively condemned the out-of-line personal attacks against. Ms. Kidd. I have full respect for her professionally and personally and feel that the only issue here is taking sentiments that belong in a private journal or therapy office and imposing them on those who’d prefer not to encounter them. I have plenty of sentiments I’d love to splash all over the world, but taste and decorum keep me in check. However, at the end of the day I see these signs for what they are; a tacky, temporary nuisance that will thankfully disappear. Not soon enough for my liking, but nothing that deserves that creepy, insane rantings of one of the posters.

    2. “Why don’t you listen to your mama and keep your mouth shut…” Uh, I guess sharing these “loving thoughts” has kind of failed. Your comment exemplifies the point of why the sign is pretentious and vapid.

    3. Some of us had mothers who encouraged us to speak the truth, no matter whether anyone thought it “nice.”

      Ms. Kidd is free to strap on a sandwich board and pace the wasteful expanse of brick at Five Corners, if she truly wants to put herself and her message “out there.”

      But do not despair!

      Her positive message has been received and understood!

      It is as follows: “An MFA degree is not worth a hill of…. signs.”

      This should inspire artists everywhere who may worry that lack of a formal education will hinder their success.

  19. Hmmmmm….after re-reading the threads and examining Mr. Baldwin’s postings, I think I’ll give the signs a break. “Of Course I Have Not Forgotten You”- fine. Compared to rats and eyeballs, it’s beautiful poetry.

    1. Thank you for ensuring that people might actually read all the way through my posts.

      If the image of lab rats feasting on human eyeballs sticks with you, good.

      Hypocrisy, government abuse of private citizens, and the abuse of public money and property are just as horrifying to some of us.

    1. Damn. I was just about to introduce the issue of punctuation into the discussion. Maybe next time.

      1. Good point! Punctuation saves lives. “Let’s eat Grandmother/ Let’s eat, Grandmother.”

  20. As a public art installation, certainly the reactions are part of the art at this point. Welcome to Martha’s Hateyard. I’ll admit, I didn’t care for last year’s offerings – a seeming proliferation of signage, and I especially took umbrage over one sign in particular that hijacked Edgartown’s Main Street – but this year’s solitary and brief message, I rather enjoyed. Dunno, something about the surprise element – getting hit in the face with it unexpectedly as I rounded the corner, headed up-island from VH – combined with words that hit me just right; I liked it.

  21. It saddens me to see the outpouring of negativity about an art installation. This vitriol speaks to the overwhelming turn our culture has taken to tear things down and “be better than.” Who hurt you, people? Shift your paradigm and get on with bringing something good to the world.