Fort Worth

Art or Trash? Fort Worth Man Fined for Hanging Shopping Cart in a Tree

Who decides what makes art -- art? A homeowner in Fort Worth's Arlington Heights neighborhood is fighting to prove that a shopping cart hanging from a tree counts. Now he'll have to prove it to a judge.

Matt Sacks is always searching, drawn to what others don't see.

"Gloves I've picked up along the railroad tracks," Sacks said, pointing to one of his sculptures. "Things I have found in the street, in the gutters, in trash piles."

And in a gallery of gadgetry, the shopping cart displayed in a tree on his property, is perhaps his masterpiece.

"To me it looks as though it is climbing, as though it is on a journey," Sacks said.

He hoisted it up there five years ago, using his truck as a winch. 

"It is seated on a tree limb,” Sacks said. “It's very stable."

He hoped it would spark conversation.

"Why is a shopping cart in a tree?” Sacks said. “What's it there for? What does it symbolize? What does it mean?"

But now that conversation will be with a judge. Back in January, Fort Worth code enforcement told Sacks to take the shopping cart down and when he didn't...

"I explained to the code enforcement officer that this is yard art," Sacks said.

The city hit him with a ticket, and a $564 fine.

"It says storage of shopping cart in tree, as the violation," Sacks said, reading from the citation.

He plans to fight it in court later this month.

"People do have a right to express themselves, to say and do what they want to say and do, artistically," Sacks said.

He’s a dedicated artist now on a mission to prove the ‘cart’ is in the eye of the beholder.

Sacks has run the Grackle Art Gallery out of his home on El Campo Avenue for the past 10 years. It’s a registered 501c3 that offers art classes and exhibits and Sacks says no one has complained about anything he's displayed there until now.

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