Sign of the times 

For someone who does not consider herself a political activist, Jean Wilson has put forth what may be the most visible anti-war statement in the state. The 45-year-old Detroit artist created the simple, yet powerful, blue-and-white “No War” placard that is displayed in many front yards and shop windows throughout southeast Michigan.

Frustrated with President George Bush’s plans to invade Iraq, Wilson hand-painted her first “No War” sign and placed it in her front yard last fall.

Some neighbors thanked her for displaying the signs; others were displeased, she says.

“The sign was kicked over a few times,” says Wilson. When it was stolen, she had 250 more printed for distribution.

Wilson says she chose blue for the sign because it is an “officious color.”

“I wanted people to take the sign seriously,” says Wilson, who didn’t want the public to think that a bunch of patchouli-smelling, pot-smoking hippies made the placard. (Not that there is anything wrong with stinky high ones, adds Wilson.)

It seems the public is taking the sign seriously. As of last week, 14,000 of the signs have been sold. But she didn’t do it alone.

The signs are being offered at a number of local businesses. Detroit urban folk singer Sista Otis has helped the cause by providing a list of stores where “No War” signs — and buttons — can be purchased on her Web site, Signs and buttons also can be obtained by e-mailing Wilson at or calling 313-720-9115.

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