We Art Minnesota: Sidewalk Poetry


Malia Cole brings us our latest submission for “We Art Minnesota.” Malia writes:

I have a long love affair with public art. As a day-dreamer of a kid, nothing was more amazing than coming upon a piece of magic just sitting there in front of me. No museum doors, entry fees, pretension, just art for me to interpret and adore. Out there for everyone, out there just for me.

As a working, 9 to 5 kind of adult, I have grown in my appreciation of public art. I understand the hard work and intention that make public art possible. And, now the art feeds a need in my life for beauty beyond my laptop and my excel spreadsheets.

My favorite piece (or many pieces) of art is the Everyday Poems for City Walk Project. Created by Saint Paul’s Public Artist in Residence, Marcus Young and friends, Saint Paul Public Works, and Public Art Saint Paul, the project works in tandem with the City’s sidewalk maintenance program and installs poetry where City sidewalks are replaced. In its first year, the project has the goal of one hundred stampings of twenty poems written by Saint Paul residents.

To find one of these poems on your Monday morning hike to the bus stop is a reminder to be human, a reminder that beauty is aways possible, everywhere. Sitting next to one of my favorite poems for the photo, a young girl comes out of her house to ask if I wrote it. I say no, I just love it. She then recites her favorite, on the spot, with a grin. She doesn’t remember where she saw it, but it is now apart of her, moving through the world.

In case you can’t make out the poem that Malia is sitting next to, here’s a transcription:

I don’t know enough

about balance to tell you

how to do it

I think though

it’s in the trying

and the letting go

That the scales measuring

right and wrong quiver

and stand still.

Thanks, Malia, for the wonderful contribution! And for those of you interested in learning more about the sidewalk poetry project, you can find Chris Roberts’ story here.

If you’d like to submit your favorite work of art that belongs to Minnesota, we’d love to hear from you.

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