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Frustration encourages art

Since covering her yard with dismembered mannequins splattered with red paint, an artist living in west Lincoln has had to deal with vandalism and threats.
“Every time they steal one, I put two up,” said Rachel Watkins, who lives on N.C. 18. “Vandalism will not stop my freedom of speech.”
Watkins had originally covered her yard in sculptures, signs and mannequin and doll parts in order to draw attention to the dangerous curve outside her house.
Four wrecks have occurred outside of her home since moving to west Lincoln from Charlotte a year and a half ago.
The last wreck happened 30 ft. away from her bedroom window. That night in a fit of frustration she created the protest art on her lawn.
Since putting it up, she has received lots of attention from neighbors and passing motorists.
“Most of the people give me thumbs up and say they wish they had the nerve to do something like this,” said Watkins.
Since creating the art, she has continued to attempt to improve the situation through more conventional means.
She isn’t impressed, however, with how officials have handled the situation.
“They’ve been patronizing, blowing me off,” said Watkins. “I might be crazy or eccentric, but I’m not insane.”
Watkins hopes that the speed limit on her road will be lowered to 35 mph and a traffic light will be put up at the intersection near her house.
If nothing else, she wishes that the current speed limit of 55 mph will be strictly enforced.
Watkins has expressed these feelings to several politicians, but she doesn’t take what they say seriously.
“Read my lips: there will be no new taxes; I didn’t sleep with Monica Lewinsky’ and there are weapons of mass destruction,” said Watkins. “I mean, who can believe politicians?”
As for people vandalizing her yard, Watkins has found ways to make herself feel more safe.
She now has a large new dog that she keeps outside, and recently a friend gave her a present after hearing about problems with trespassing.
“A neighbor gave me a 410 shotgun,” said Watkins.
Her husband has shot the gun once into the ground after seeing a man in their front yard late at night.
“If they’re coming that close to my bedroom and my home then I figured it was time to protect myself,” said Watkins.
As for the apples that people have thrown at her sculptures, she simply incorporates them into the art.by Sarah Grano

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