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!
A line of shoes traipsed their way along the fence, leading visitors along the sidewalk.
Doors along the fence begged to be opened, promising a wonderland beyond.
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.
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.
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.