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The Billboard Poetry Project part 2: Community Essays

27 Feb

laura bus 132

The experience of changing our landscape with Derek Henderson’s poem was one that couldn’t really be replaced or re-done. But, we wanted to continue the project, and we were excited to see how the Billboard Poetry Project would manifest itself next.

Late last Summer, a local writing instructor from Brigham Young University approached us with an idea to extend the project. She wanted her students to be more involved with the community. She wanted her students to experience how words can affect a community.

We wondered how the Billboard Poetry Project would work within a higher education context, so we decided the next iteration would be an experiment: what would happen if 37 college students went out into the community and wrote essays about their experiences. What would they find? What would they create? What about the Provo community would they expose? And, how would their essays become part of the public space?

We enlisted the help of Dan Barney, Art Education professor, project co-founder; Ashley Mae Hoiland, writer, teacher, artist, project co-founder; David Wolske, printer, graphic designer; Ben Dougal, artist, graphic designer; 37 students & their professor, Emily Dyer; the city of Provo–8 non-profit organizations & 10 geographic/cultural sites in the city.

The Idea: Explore the Provo community & create essays from the explorations that accurately reflect the community the students’ found. Then, share these essays with the community.

The Result: 37 essays expressing Provo–the landscape, the people, the stories, the relationships, the community.

billbard poetry project posters

The Billboard Poetry Element: To celebrate Provo, and these essays, the students revised their essays into broadsides we posted throughout the Provo community.

To view and download the broadsides: click here

To read the essays: click here