Community

Slamming some words for the ‘hood

Katherine Wagner, co-organizer of the Community Public Art Contest; Tweetable Sidewalk Poetry, is looking for poems of 140 characters or less. - Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS
Katherine Wagner, co-organizer of the Community Public Art Contest; Tweetable Sidewalk Poetry, is looking for poems of 140 characters or less.
— image credit: Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS

Poetry does not always have to rhyme or be didactic in nature.

For Maple Ridge residents, poetry should be something shareable and relevant in today’s social media platform – and something that looks good on the sidewalk.

So the District of Maple Ridge’s public art steering committee, Holy Wow Poets and Golden Ears Writers have organized a Community Public Art Contest: Tweetable Sidewalk Poetry, to recognize the district’s 140th birthday.

The contest is open to anyone who can share a poem in English that shows why Maple Ridge is special.

The poem must be appropriate for public viewing and be no longer than 140 characters, the maximum allowed in a tweet.

“With tweets being 140 characters and the (district’s) anniversary being the 140th, it kind of melded together really easily,” said district arts manager Yvonne Chui.

“Social media certainly has become such an important communications tool for so many people and it’s not going away.”

The vinyl, no-slip, UV-protected material that will be used for applying the winning poems to sidewalks was carefully researched by contest organizers, Chui explained. The 3M product can last between three to five months before it starts to fade.

The fact that the poems will last for a few months but not permanently was appealing to contest organizers as they hoped this year’s contest will serve as a pilot project for contests to come, said Chui.

“Next year, perhaps a new set of sidewalk poems will be unveiled.”

Participants cannot submit more than three poems and must be current or past residents of Maple Ridge.

Up to 10 poets will be selected from the three categories of children, youth and adults. Winners will have their poems installed on district sidewalks, and their names and biographies will be featured on the project website.

Poems must be sent to submissions@mapleridge.ca by midnight, Sept. 2. Winners will be contacted by Sept. 8, and an official finalist announcement will be made at the 140th Memorial Peace Park celebration on Sept. 13.

Although plans for celebrating Maple Ridge’s historical anniversary  have not been finalized, staff and council have already indicated the event will be a fun, family affair that captures the colourful history of Maple Ridge and fosters a renewed civic pride.

The two-day free event in the park will begin with an official early evening announcement and musical entertainment on Sept. 12. That will be followed by an all-day celebration that will include a number of community partners such as Haney Farmers Market and Maple Ridge Museum and Community Archives September 13.

Hesitant to reveal too many details at this stage, Maple Ridge Museum director Val Patenaude explained event attendees will be able to see new and familiar historical civic Maple Ridge displays on the bandstand those two days.

The traditional History Goes to Market museum event, when the museum collaborates with Haney Farmers Market, will also be featured during the celebration. Recipe cards from days gone by will be one of the special treats given to market shoppers.

Watch for upcoming celebration details.

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