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Hyde Park artist’s mailbox is ‘all about making people laugh’

September 13th, 2009 Posted in Arts and Life

By Dana Ivins

HYDE PARK – Driving south down 1st East in Hyde Park, nothing seems too out of the ordinary. Green grass, tidy homes, and a nice small-town feel. Then you see it. It’s a mailbox, but not quite. It’s five worn mailboxes stacked on top of one another. What’s that all about? What do the neighbors think?
“Of course they don’t like it, so of course I did it!” said Kit Flannery, a resident of Hyde Park since 1971. “I didn’t want anything ordinary.”

She describes the roadside piece as “gatiwompus” with its multiple mailboxes skewed here and there, and says it’s definitely not your typical “silver, bread-loaf thing on a stick,” but rather, “it’s all about making people laugh.”

At 76 years old, Flannery has been an artist and sculptor for years and made her living as a fabric artist. Describing her style as eclectic, she said, “I like so many different mediums and forms of art. I like color, I like junk.”

An avid collector and recycler, she found the old mailboxes years ago in ditches and at a dump located west of Logan. She said that the battered and aged look of the mailboxes explains why they have never been a target of neighborhood kids and their explosive devices.

Having originally put it out as sculpture in the mid-1980s, Flannery later decided to see if it could be used as a regular mailbox. And?

“Believe it or not, it conforms to government guidelines,” she said.

While the mailbox is a standout, it’s only the first thing that grabs your attention. The house behind it is painted a soft lilac color, with accents of bright orange and magenta framing doors and doorways.

Inside, Flannery proudly displays her diverse taste with more colors, patterns, and fabrics. The kitchen area boasts an antique cast iron stove, a wall covered with vintage wooden shoe forms, and shelves full of intriguing collectibles. The bathroom walls are covered in an array of mirrors of many sizes and frames. On a bedroom wall hangs an impressive quilt Flannery made out of men’s neckties purchased from thrift stores.

Flannery’s home appears to be a good reflection of her colorful self.

And what is her opinion of your run-of-the-mill mailbox?

“Eww. Do something with it!”

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