“Octopus’s Garden,” by Joy Latimer, George Latimer and Craig Granger, was part of Lawn Art With Neighbors, known as LAWN, in 2021. LAWN features art installations in yards across Springfield. This year’s installations are on display April 23-May 8. (Photo by Joy Latimer)

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Springfield will become an open-air museum starting Saturday, April 23, when residents all over the city share “lawn art” with their neighbors.

The event, officially called Lawn Art With Neighbors or LAWN, runs until May 8.

LAWN was created in 2020 as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It returns for its third year of public art.

“The goal was to create an effort to encourage art-making and viewing as a form of bolstering mental health and community building during stay-at-home orders,” said a LAWN press release. “In 2020, LAWN included 65 lawn art projects created by over 100 community members. During 2021, LAWN had nearly 75 participating lawn art projects in Springfield.”

Past projects have included sculptures, paintings, installations, video projections, podcasts, social practice projects and more. There will be fresh projects at some recurring sites in 2022, as well as participation from other Green County communities, like Ash Grove, Battlefield, Fair Grove, Republic and Willard.

“I enjoyed the experience and the energy that went into making my LAWN display,” said Jordan Seyer, a Springfield-based painter whose work plays into abstract expressionism on a large scale. “It drove me to make my work as fun as I possibly could to match any energy other artists were putting out.”

Who can participate in LAWN?

LAWN isn’t just for professional artists, though. April Stublefield, a stay-at-home mom of two who enjoys adding creative projects to her family routine, participated in LAWN in 2021.

“My son was 18 months old and just beginning to explore outside when LAWN 2020 was advertised,” Stublefield said. “In response to his enthusiasm and the strangeness of social isolation, I found myself wanting to celebrate our local natural landscape for bringing us so much joy.”

LAWN is sponsored by Sculpture Walk Springfield, the Springfield Art Museum, Missouri State University’s Art and Design Department and the University of Missouri Extension (Greene County).

“MU Extension got involved because we saw the value of art for the community, by the community, as a way to strengthen social bonds through art,” said David Burton, county engagement specialist with the University of Missouri Extension. “LAWN also fits perfectly with our engaged neighbor program.”

The official LAWN website has a map and viewing suggestions to help locate the artworks nearest you. For more information, visit the website, @LAWNSGF on Facebook and @l.a.w.n.sgf on Instagram.