Someone said something at a panel I attended last night (about which I'll blog later) that reminded me of this little shrine thing I passed in Anacostia a few weeks ago. A local artist by the name of Melvin was talking about making the arts relevant to young people in communities impacted by drugs and crime, and pointed out that impromptu, temporary assemblages in the streetscape–often in honor of a person killed–should be valued as a form of artistic expression. He called it "urban veneration." I won't be looking at these memorials in the same way again.
UPDATE, 3:37 p.m. - Commenter Eli points out that a local blog already does a really good job of this.