The Billboard Poetry Project
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The Billboard Poetry Project
Figure 1. Top left: Photographed by D. Barney. Poem installed on three consecutive billboards, September 10, 2011, Provo/Springville, Utah. Top right: Photographed by D. Barney. Two workshop participants learning how to create an iron oxide transfer drawing, September 10, 2011, Provo, Utah. Bottom right: Photographed by D. Barney. Photographs with transfer drawings created by workshop facilitator Bryan Hutchinson, September 10, 2011, Provo, Utah. Bottom left: Photographed by Rachel Call. Public event with a portable art gallery, an open microphone for poetry readings, and refreshments, September 10, 2011, Provo, Utah.
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Figure 1.

Top left: Photographed by D. Barney. Poem installed on three consecutive billboards, September 10, 2011, Provo/Springville, Utah. Top right: Photographed by D. Barney. Two workshop participants learning how to create an iron oxide transfer drawing, September 10, 2011, Provo, Utah. Bottom right: Photographed by D. Barney. Photographs with transfer drawings created by workshop facilitator Bryan Hutchinson, September 10, 2011, Provo, Utah.

Bottom left: Photographed by Rachel Call. Public event with a portable art gallery, an open microphone for poetry readings, and refreshments, September 10, 2011, Provo, Utah.

The Billboard Poetry Project is a public and pedagogical series of actions. These include (1) a call for a poem to be displayed on multiple billboards, (2) a series of free workshops taught by local artists and writers, and (3) a community arts event with poetry readings and a portable art gallery.

Ashley Hoiland, an artist and poet, and Daniel Barney, an artist and educational researcher, collaborated to create this community intervention. Funded [End Page 39] by the Laycock Center for Collaboration in the Arts, the project was a transdisciplinary collaborative engagement. It included artists, poets, creative writers, graphic designers, photographers, and educators at the secondary and university levels. Three billboards became the space to speak back to the monstrous and inescapable advertisements that loomed over the roads in Provo, Utah. Instead of simply protesting the signs, we sought to speak through the billboards and invite others to participate in a creative re-purposing of the space. We asked: What if these billboards encouraged dialogue and interaction? What if the pedagogy of a billboard was subverted or challenged? And, how might we, as a/r/tographers, construct a socially engaged artistic practice that is also pedagogically participatory (Irwin & Springgay, 2008)?

At the arts event, the poet whose poem was shown on the billboards talked about his work in relation to concepts of community. The poem was built from fragments salvaged from his friends’ unfinished poems. This method of poem construction paralleled The Billboard Poetry Project’s process of rethinking community spaces through iterations of creative negotiation. For more information about this project, please visit http://billboardpoetryproject.com/.

Daniel T. Barney
Brigham Young University
Ashley Mae Hoiland
Stanford, CA

Reference

Irwin, Rita L., & Springgay, S. (2008). A/r/tography as practice based research. In M. Cahnmann-Taylor & R. Siegesmund (Eds.), Arts-based research in education: Foundations for practice (pp. 103–124). New York, NY: Routledge. [End Page 40]
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