Positive messages, warmly received


To the Editor:

When I first moved to the Vineyard 12 years ago I wrote boldly with a Sharpie on an index card: “This island has everything I need.” It was an affirmation of sorts, as I wasn’t quite sure, having moved rather blindly from New York, what was here or what exactly I would need. I have found this little Island has provided me with more than I could have ever expected.

It is a safe and certainly beautiful place to live. There is an abundance of care for neighbors, animals, the environment, our food and our well being. I love my work and the people I work for. I honor their willingness to be vulnerable and strength to grow. I enjoy a cherished community of colleagues and friends who are interesting and active thinkers. People here stop by with eggs and lettuce. There are helpful people with trucks and ladders and chain saws. My son has known nothing but attentive teachers and caring schools. He has lifelong relationships and freedom to roam.

Yet, amidst all this I wanted more, something creative. I had an idea to install a public art project that involved putting positive messages in visible locations around the island. At the end of last April it became a reality. The project, titled “I got all your messages and loved every one” was a big undertaking, it meant a lot to me personally and it represented something important I wanted to express.

So, now in the spirit of this season of gratitude, I wanted to say thank you to the people of Martha’s Vineyard who allowed me to fulfill my vision.

The list of helpers is long but important: the selectmen from Aquinnah, Tisbury and Edgartown, The Tisbury Waterworks, Ken Barwick, Lenny Jason and the sign review committee of Edgartown, who met with me for over an hour, Nelia Decker and Beth Kramer at The West Tisbury Library, school superintendent James Weiss and the All-Island School Committee, Capawock and Island Theater owner Ben Hall, Bob Lasala at Edgartown Cinema, Fred Fisher of Nip & Tuck Farm, Mimi Drummond of Keith Farm, the Athearns of Morning Glory Farm, Captain Bob Douglas for the last minute miracle of allowing me to use the Shenandoah after When and If sailed off just days before our installation date, Tim Vitalis and Nathan Shepard for digging and climbing and certainly special thanks to the most generous and patient sign maker ever, Melissa Nellis Patterson.

I appreciate each and every member of our community who contacted me with your personal stories, support and photos of the piece. And to those who may not have appreciated the signs but tolerated them for those two weeks, thanks to you especially.

There are many others, too many to fit on an index card, but I made a slide show, posted on vimeo.com (search: Julia Kidd). There are lots of familiar faces and visuals that tell the local story.

With gratitude for this open-minded community,

Julia Kidd

Vineyard Haven