Mayor Coleman announces annual initiative promoting art in public spaces
SAINT PAUL – Following the successful debut of Saint Paul’s sidewalk poetry contest in 2008, Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman today announced the opening of the second annual Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk Contest. The contest, sponsored in partnership with Public Art Saint Paul, will accept poetry submissions from Saint Paul residents through the month of May, ending May 29. Winners will then have their work inscribed on city sidewalks as part of Saint Paul public works sidewalk replacement program.
“Public spaces like sidewalks have the potential to be more than just paths to places,” Mayor Coleman said. “Our sidewalk poetry effort brings art to the outdoors where it can surprise, inspire, and make us laugh, smile, and think. Art in public spaces engage residents and invite us to use those spaces. With the generous support of our partners at Public Art Saint Paul, the Most Livable City in America takes another step forward in contemporary, urban renaissance.”
Sidewalk poetry’s genesis began with Marcus Young, Saint Paul’s artist in residence. Young conceived the idea last year after learning about the public works department’s annual sidewalk replacement program. Because of age and deterioration, the city replaces about 10 miles of sidewalk each year.
“I like the unlikely pairing of poetry and sidewalk replacement,” Young said. “Sidewalks are clearly a necessity, yet creating beauty and mystery with public art is equally important. We must build well both the hard durable structures of our city and the soft spaces for our collective imagination. That we can do both at the same time is really fun.”
Young, who will reprise his role as project manager of the sidewalk poetry program, noted that Saint Paul residents embraced the contest with zeal last year. The city received more than 2,000 submissions.
“We’re hoping for an equally enthusiastic response again this year,” Young said.