Beginning this year, your walk around Muscatine could be inspired by more than just green grass and trees. On Thursday, the Muscatine City Council approved a Pilot Sidewalk Poetry Program. Community Development Director Dave Gobin gave a presentation to request the approval of the Muscatine County Arts Council’s pilot program to install stamped poetry in new or replacement sidewalks. The program will be done under the direction of the Public Works Department as part of the annual sidewalk construction projects throughout the community.
In April, the Muscatine County Arts Council held a poetry contest, with over 40 applicants participating. All poems were judged by Iowa Poet Laureate, Mary Swander. Five winning poets were chose to have their poems embossed into stamps that will be placed into wet concrete as Public Works replaces or repairs sidewalks. The intent is to have one or two poems stamped per block. Residents will have the choice as to whether they would like poetry stamped onto concrete in front of their home if the sidewalk is being replaced or repaired.
There is no cost to the City for the poetry stamps as they were donated by the Muscatine County Arts Council after receiving a grant from the Community Foundation.
Gobin introduced the project to the City Council because he believes it’s a step in the right direction to encourage arts and tourism.
“It’s a low or no cost way to attract visitors from outside of town,” Gobin said. “With our best foot forward, the City can leave a lasting impression.”
To see example photos of sidewalks with poetry stamped into them, visit the Public Art Saint Paul website.