Skip to main content

Gallery Exhibit: Yard Show

Yard Show

Not so very long ago, almost everyone in America participated in the familiar activity of building. Whether it was making a cabin or corral, barn or hen house, expressing one’s life through building and shaping space was a common activity. Today, building technology is so complex that we rely almost entirely on professionals for design and construction. Yet the yard and garden remain as realms where people with ordinary means and skills can shape space with their own hands to create a personal expression that is visible to all.

The exhibition, Yard Show, is the result of a collaboration between Texas Folklife, the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts (SAMFA), and the landscape designer and author Jill Nokes. Nokes’ 2007 book, Yard Art and Handmade Places: Extraordinary Expressions of Home (2007, UT Press) is the inspiration for this exhibit, featuring people who have transformed their homes and properties into uncommon personal displays.

Yard Show focuses on several of these distinctive places and their makers with photographs by Krista Whitson, Jill Nokes and Chuy Benitez, videos and sculptural elements borrowed from selected yards as well as new installations commissioned for the exhibit. The stories in Yard Show build vivid pictures of home that is more than just real estate and property values. Yard Show offers a lens for people to view their own communities, especially those overlooked neighborhoods where forgotten public histories and private memories may contribute to a greater sense of place.

These places have many meanings in the lives of the makers—they might be memorials, reliquaries and sacred spaces, or sculptural fantasies, landmarks or sites for the display of collections, visions of paradise, or even acts of reclamation for a depleted landscape. They may be seen as acts of civic generosity, creating spaces inviting to casual interactions with neighbors and strangers. As vernacular landscapes are rapidly replaced by new developments, people in every community might ask themselves, “What are those qualities that make my hometown special, and are worth celebrating and protecting?”


About the author, curator and photographers:

Jill Nokes’ first book, How to Grow Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest, has become a classic reference that has helped increase awareness of the value of native plants. She worked closely with Texas Folklife Executive Director Nancy Bless to shape this exhibit based on her book, Yard Art and Handmade Places: Extraordinary Expressions of Home (2007, UT Press).

Yard Show has been made possible, in part, by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art, Humanities Texas, the Cogburn Family Foundation, the Still Water Foundation, the city of Austin through the Cultural Arts Division and the Texas Commission on the Arts, as well as contributions from the boards and members of Texas Folklife and the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts.


Exhibit Specifications:

Rental costs: $2500, photographs and video only, plus shipping for 4-8 weeks rental; costs for site specific installations will be planned and negotiated separately.

Running Feet: 84

Framed color photographs & text panels: (12) 12x12 inch, (4) 11x14 inch, (3) 8x10 inch, (4) 10x8 inch, (3) 8x8 inch, (8) 5x7 inch

Unframed canvas digital color prints & introductory panel: (5) 40x60-inch, (6) 30x40 inch, (2) 24x60 inch

Installation requirements: Framed and matted, hanging system included, ready to hang

Sculptural elements available:

Cement painted flowers: (30) various sizes from 3” to 7” diameter, by Rufino Loya, 2009

Fountain: Stone, cement, paint, 500 lbs., 30x 30x28 inches, wired and ready to plug into wall socket, sits on pallet, by Jesus Zertuche, 2009

Wooden Pews: (2) 36x16x86 inches

DVD with short documentaries about several of the yards in the exhibit

Please contact Texas Folklife at or call at 512-441-9255 for more information