One of my goals as poet laureate for the City of Columbia has been to think about poetry as a public art. And another goal is to create a venue for the voices of local and young writers. Recently, with the help of Lee Snelgrove at One Columbia, we installed a project that fortunately does both of these things.
After collecting poems from local writers and young poets including three middle schoolers and a high school student, we created stencils that were hand cut using cardboard.
Once the stencils were completed, we installed “Rain Poetry” throughout the city using Rainworks Magic Spray.
The spray is a hydrophobic “paint” that will stay invisible on dry concrete, but when it rains stay lighter against the darkened wet concrete. When this happen it reveals the poetry.
Most of the poems have been installed around the campus of the University of South Carolina where there’s lots of foot traffic, even on rainy days. But we’ve also installed them in Five Points, the Vista and around Main Street. We’ve even made a map so you can go hunt for them next time it rains. But, be quick! They’ll only likely last about six weeks.