On The Fence — The Art Fence in Denton

The Art Fence in Denton

The “Art Fence” in Denton is in an obscure location. You didn’t know we had one, did you? We certainly do! The Art Fence is quite possibly the best fence in Denton (unfortunately, there is no award for that).

It is on Sherman drive behind the Natural Grocers Store and CVS Pharmacy, where only locals are likely to see it. When I photographed it in 2008 it was in full glory; it was an entire block of wonderful whimsy. At the time, I had no idea who maintained that fence, however it was not surprising when I was told that Judy Smith (the owner of the fabulous Rose Costumes) had adopted it as her own.

The Art Fence smacked of Judy’s creativity, and if you have ever ventured into Rose Costume, you know exactly what I mean. One of her employees said it best, “Judy leaves a little bit of herself wherever she goes.” Let me tell you, the world is a more enchanted place when Judy passes through it!

Every few feet on the fence in 2008 there was another bit of magic, including paintings of faces peeking out from behind broken fence posts.
Art Fence with a peeper

A line of shoes traipsed their way along the fence, leading visitors along the sidewalk.

Line of shoes

Doors along the fence begged to be opened, promising a wonderland beyond.

Art Fence door

However, all that was on the other side were loading docks and dumpsters. Thanks to Judy’s efforts, those eyesores were artistically hidden from view. Then, ownership changed for the buildings on the other side of the fence — the new owners tore down the fence. In truth, they had to remove it, because the fence was so dilapidated that it was a hazard.

Did the residents miss their Art Fence? You bet they did! People came out of the woodwork, so to speak, calling the stores and asking them to replace the fence so Judy could decorate it. They even called the corporate offices (located in Denver) for one store complaining that they wanted the art fence back! The fence was replaced and re-decorated, but it’s not the same. Something was lost in translation when the aging, rustic-looking boards were replaced, although Judy still does a wonderful job of maintaining it.

Art Fence 2013

While it still has some paintings, it now focuses on the shoes. Find the tiny pair of Skechers — the ones covered with bluebirds and hearts — because they have a story. It seems that a woman approached Judy and said, “I want to give you my niece’s shoes. Would you please put them on the fence? She always loved that Art Fence.” The woman’s niece, only ten years old, had passed away. Now, Mia’s shoes hang as her memorial among the art she loved.

memorial shoe

[Note: Because I love ghost stories, I have to give you an “aside.” When I found these shoes, I arranged them and stepped back to take a picture. My camera battery, which was freshly charged, drained completely. Fortunately, I had my iPad to take this picture. When I mentioned the dead battery to a friend who has done paranormal investigation he asked, “Did the battery drain, or did the entity drain it?” As I transferred the picture from the iPad, the battery on IT had drained from 98% to 19% in less than an hour.]

Although the Art Fence is no longer as elaborate as it was, it is still more wonderful than most fences you will find, but I wish you had seen it in 2008. Go see it now, before it changes again. The Art Fence is only one of the best of all things in Denton.

  6 comments for “On The Fence — The Art Fence in Denton

  1. May 26, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    oh, Shelly, I’m glad you did write the story. We talked about it when I was there – what a great thing that you have some pics of it in its full glory. 🙂

    • May 26, 2013 at 3:39 pm

      Barbara, I still think it’s an awesome fence, but I pine for all those doors and paintings! I just think it is marvelous that Judy is willing to give us all a bit of beauty in our days. That’s probably the best thing about it.

  2. May 27, 2013 at 6:49 am

    What a fiercely cool idea! Spooky about the girl’s tennis shoes. Did y’all catch any of that storm a couple of weeks back?

    • May 27, 2013 at 7:13 am

      Yes, LuAnn, it is “fiercely” cool. I would love for Judy to decorate MY fence :-). Yes, the tennis shoe experience was a bit spooky, in retrospect. I think it is a pretty wonderful memorial, though. Storms? Yes, they rolled through, but we were very fortunate. Only thunder and lightning.

  3. Len
    June 3, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    I love that fence, too. I live in the neighborhood and have for a long time. I always check to see if anything has changed and love the changes. I realize from your pictures that I have Been missing some of the best stuff by only driving by. I am going to start walking by to get the full story. Thank you and my thanks to Judy as well.

    • June 4, 2013 at 1:29 pm

      Judy is pretty wonderful to keep that fence maintained. Keep in mind, Len, that most of the photos I showed you are older. I’m saddened that the doors aren’t on the fence anymore. They were my favorite part!

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