Sidewalks Paved with Poetry
Put together your rhymes! It’s time for the Annual Saint Paul Sidewalk Poetry Contest to begin. The contest, in partnership with Public Art Saint Paul, will accept poetry submissions from Saint Paul residents through the month of March, ending March 28, 2010. Winners will then have their work stamped into city sidewalks as part of Saint Paul Public Works sidewalk replacement program.“Public Art Saint Paul is proud to sponsor Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk. Now in its third year, the project has been embraced by the community and acclaimed nationwide. City Artist in Residence, Marcus Young, sees the city as a book where residents fill the concrete pages of sidewalks with their poems. It’s a beautifully simple idea worthy of our creative city on America’s greatest river.” said Public Art Saint Paul President, Christine Podas-Larson.
Sidewalk poetry’s creator, City Artist in Residence, Marcus Young, conceived the idea three years ago after learning about the public works department annual sidewalk replacement program. Because of age and deterioration, the city replaces approximately 10 miles of sidewalk each year.
Young commented, “We must be the only place it the world that creates public art as we fix our sidewalks. Fixing sidewalks is necessary work, and publishing poetry in concrete is practical, enduring, and surprisingly captivating. Our city is not just a city, but can be the biggest anthology of poems ever made.”
To date the city has installed over 261 poetry panels around the city of 26 poems within the collection. Because poems are stamped into sidewalk panels, poems are limited to 250 character spaces.
Young, Project Manager of the sidewalk poetry program, noted that Saint Paul residents embraced the contest with zeal last year, submitting over a thousand poems. “Saint Paulites, this is your poetry contest. We welcome back-of-napkin poems, classroom assignments, funny limericks, beautiful secrets. The city wants your good poems.” Young said.
The project is made possible with support from Public Art Saint Paul’s program fund, the City of Saint Paul, and Readings by Writers; and is produced in collaboration with the Department of Public Works. Major contributors include The Saint Paul, F. R. Bigelow, Hardenbergh, Huss, Mardag, McKnight, and Travelers Foundations, George Mairs, and the Katherine B. Andersen Fund.
Interested Saint Paul residents can learn more about the specifics of the contest by visiting the City’s website atwww.stpaul.gov/poetry.