Scarecrow in field

The “Scarecoronas” in Northside, Cincinnati may seem silly and casual, just a bunch of scarecrows and monsters made of whatever the residents of the neighborhood had at home. But they are heirs to quite a long artistic history.

Gargoyles, the grotesques carved in stone on ancient cathedrals, were as much to scare away evil spirits or the devil as they were to divert water. Jack-o-lanterns were, to some, a way to scare away the undead, or distract vampires from the occupants of a home. It’s a natural urge, to make some icon to frighten away that which frightens us.

That’s not why Tina Gutierrez and Rene Micheo made the first scarecoronas. But it’s probably not why the first person carved a face in a turnip, either.

“Tina and I were chatting online and trying to think of ways to help out the community and to to make it fun,” said Micheo. “You know Northside always has an edge because we have so many artists and cool people around.” They settled on making scarecrows, coined their new name, and invited all of their neighbors to join in a “socially connected, at-a-distance community art show” by making their own.

In less than two weeks, over 169 scarecoronas have been erected. Dragons, grim reapers, friendly grannies and robots with beer-bottle death leer at drive-through attendees all throughout Northside, all with one message – Coronavirus isn’t welcome here.

“People were just really, really ready to have something to do and to participate in community,”Gutierrez said. “Not everyone is on Facebook or has heard the news and so they’re just kind of popping up organically. So we’re trying to document this as a historical event.”

The Facebook page Northside ScareCoronas has a walking map with a scavenger hunt, and a gallery of all known scarecoronas. It’s worth checking out.