Boston Sidewalks Unveil New Street Art—But There’s A Twist!

New public art was unveiled in Boston this year but there's a twist—you can't see it everyday. Find out why below!

Credit: Mass Poetry

Credit: Mass Poetry

Public art has taken on a whole different form in Boston in honor of National Poetry Month this year in April and residents who are usually grumbling by are pleasantly surprised when they happen to walk by one of the installations when it’s raining.

“This is our ‘Raining Poetry’ project. Maybe you’re not in a great mood because you’re on your commute or it’s raining, but then you see a poem. It’s something that lifts up your spirits a little bit,”

says Sara Siegel from Mass Poetry, the non-profit behind the poetry project in Boston.

Credit: Mass Poetry

Credit: Mass Poetry

Poems have been stenciled into several of the city’s sidewalks that are only visible when they are wet and they’re giving street art a whole new meaning.

Street art is generally seen as a nuisance, often half-heartedly staining public walls but sometimes creating beautiful murals that will last years if left untouched. These new poems only last 2-4 months and their selective visibility makes them novelties each time it rains. 

The idea was born in Seattle, where a resident, Peregrine Church, saw a viral video of superhydrophobic coating in action. The coating works to repel water and Church got the idea to use it to form words and create poetry on sidewalks. After he tested out the idea by stenciling his own messages on the sidewalk, he launched a successful Kickstarter project to produce Rainworks, the spray used by Boston.

Credit: Mass Poetry

Credit: Mass Poetry

Rainworks is biodegradable, environmentally friendly, and non-toxic, making it a conscious and safe way to creatively incorporate more street art in urban settings.

“With Raining Poetry, we are able to bring more poetry into the everyday lives of the unsuspecting,”

says Danielle Georges, Boston’s Poet Laureate and the person who chose the first four poems for the project.

The initial poems are all from poets with ties to Boston: Langston Hughes, Elizabeth McKim, Barbara Helfgott Hyett, and Gary Duehr.

Siegel said:

“Once we get the funding, we are looking to do more poems, in more neighborhoods throughout Boston, throughout Greater Boston, and we’re hoping to get poems in Haitian, Creole and Spanish and Portuguese, just to really reflect the neighborhoods where we place the poems.”

Since art is the first program to be cut from schools and because of its underrated status, public art is an important component of many cities to reflect culture and beauty. 

Watch the video below, created by New York Magazine, to get a peek at these works of art:

What are your thoughts on this street art? Please share, like, and comment on this article!

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