Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk is an ongoing, systems-based work of art and the vanguard expression of the pioneering idea of “City Art.” The work re-imagines Saint Paul’s annual sidewalk maintenance program as an ongoing publishing entity for a city-sized book of poetry.
Piggybacking onto this unassuming yet essential city service—a $1 million program repairing 10 miles of sidewalk each year—the sidewalk poetry program reaches all corners of the city.
Since 2008, we have installed more than 900 poems from a growing collection of 46, written by St. Paul residents. Public Art Saint Paul hosts an annual citywide poetry contest to build the collection. Saint Paul’s Poet Laureate Carol Connolly is among the distinguished contest panelists. The work aspires to pave all of St. Paul’s streets with poetry and to claim poetry as an essential city service. As of 2014, approximately 17 percent of city land is within a two-minute walk of a poem created by this ongoing work of art.