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Spreading Positivity in Manhattan Beach...With Dog Poop Bags

Aug 15, 2020 07:44PM ● By Jeanne Fratello

Photo via Diana Flynn

Everything is coming up roses at Live Oak Park in Manhattan Beach... or at least it looks that way, thanks to an artist's colorful installment of 6,000 dog poop bags.

When city budget cuts ended funding for dog poop baggies at the Live Oak Park dog run, local artist Diana Flynn decided to make something positive out of the situation. 

Through an art installation she calls, "Oh, Crap!", Flynn and other local dog owners created a colorful display of free dog poop bags, arranged like roses and stuffed into the holes in the fences. The bags are free for the taking, for anyone who needs one, she said. 

"I think everyone has had such a rough year," she told DigMB as she attached the last of the roses to the fence on Saturday. "For Manhattan Beach not being able to provide bags at this park was a bummer - it seemed like a relatively small budget item."

But Flynn said that rather than ranting to the city or complaining, she wanted to do something that was more in the spirit of giving back to the city. 

"It's taking a negative and turning it into a positive," she said. "We all need to do more of that."

Flower Shapes Surround the Dog Run

According to Flynn, the 6,000 dog pick-up bags are grouped into more than 900 flower shapes and fastened to the fences. The bags are floral-scented and can be "picked" from the fences as needed.

"I just kind of wanted it to be a nice flowery display," said Flynn.

They also appear to be needed: Flynn said she had picked up four dog "deposits" in the park on Saturday morning while setting up.

Flynn worked alongside her yellow lab Callie Sue, with help from friends Chris Alexiades (and dog Shea), Leslee Grizzell (Happy), Lorraine Ibarra (Ricky, and in memory of Nicky), Pamela James (Figuero), Michelle Landis (Dakota), Gordon Louttit (Trixie), and Lawrence Thomas (Bluto).

Budget Challenges Ended Dog Bag Supply

According to Manhattan Beach Mayor Richard Montgomery, the Leadership Manhattan Beach class of 2002 (of which he was a member) created the “mutt mitt” stations for the Strand, Greenbelt and dog parks. 

The group raised the money, had the city's Public Works department install them, and donated 5,000 bags. The effort was so successful, noted Montgomery, that Hermosa Beach and other cities followed suit.

However, in 2020, the city's budget has had unexpected challenges. 

"Although Nancy [Hersman] and I voted to keep replenishing all of the mutt mitt dispensers across the city, the majority of council voted to cut this expense as they believed dog owners - me included - should purchase and walk with their own bags," said Montgomery.

"I think the people that leave extra bags are doing so to keep our dog runs and city clean," he added. "I applaud them all."


Flynn is a Manhattan Beach-based textile artist. Her work has been featured locally at the Manhattan Beach Art Center, Resin Gallery, and Unita Club, and in homes across the country.

To see more photos of the exhibit, visit Flynn's Instagram at @DianaFlynnDesigns. To contribute to the project, Venmo her at @Diana-Flynn-2

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