This Sidewalk Poetry Program Is Genius

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After an all-time record-breaking snowfall in Boston this winter with a 108.6 inches, the city is probably more ready for Spring than anywhere else in the country. The Cambridge Arts Council, Cambridge Public Library, and its Department of Public Works are hoping they can do their part to make this spring even more special for locals, because frankly, they deserve it. Cambridge — you know, the home of Harvard and that Good Will Hunting bar scene — is launching a new Sidewalk Poetry program in the city.

The program is inspired by a similar sidewalk poetry initiative in St. Paul, Minnesota, where poetry written by local residents are etched into freshly poured concrete. St. Paul now has more than 470 poems showcased on the city sidewalks. The winter snow, with all its shovel scraping and plowing, can just ruin sidewalks, and so the new concrete was already planned. Why not dress it up with a little artistic inspiration, Cambridge asks? Julia Barry, director of community arts for the Cambridge Arts Council spoke with The Boston Globe about the new program:

I think that one of the goals of Cambridge is to have this sense of playfulness and the sense of art being important. Just being able to implement these little jewels throughout the city is a fun way to inspire that playfulness.

She also added that because many people are already looking down at their smartphones when they walk (LOL, truth), the poems can give them something else nice to look at.

The first poem will be imprinted into Cambridge sidewalks this spring. The Cambridge collaboration of organizations selected a poem from "On the River," a collection of poetry by Cambridge natives. From there, they hope the program will grow, as the city has opened a submission page for Cambridge residents only, where they can send in up to two of their own original poems for consideration.

I officially want this program everywhere.

“We want people to really stop and smell the roses, as it were," Barry added, "And have a little bit of random art in their daily lives."

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