Zionsville’s sidewalk poetry project: do tread on me

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By Heather Lusk

The Zionsville Cultural District wants people to walk all over their latest project.

Chalk poems are popping up around the Village to promote the Step-On-Us project. (photo by Heather Lusk)

Two poets, one adult and one youth, will have their poems stamped in cement through the Step-On-Us Sidewalk Poetry contest.

“Kids have been writing their name in concrete forever,” said Donna Monday, a board member with the Zionsville Cultural District who is a published poet. “It sounds so simple until you start to do it.”

Monday brought the idea to the Cultural District board last fall and has been working with the street department, town government and legal counsel to bring the concept to fruition. She first heard about the idea through a rejected proposal for an Indianapolis park. Monday thought it would work well in Zionsville.

“Sidewalk poetry, doesn’t that sound like a Village thing?” Monday said.

A similar project has been successful in St. Paul, Minn., and in other U.S. cities, but this project is unique to Indiana. The stamps are created by a facility in Minnesota and can be reused multiple times. One was created with the town’s logo that will be used for the new town hall’s sidewalk.

Because of size constraints, poems must be short and can’t be political or profane. The youth category, age 18 and younger, is limited to Zionsville residents. The adult category is open to all Indiana residents. Entry fees are $5 for youth and $10 for adults.

Poems without names will be reviewed by a panel of ZCD board members, a member from Poetry on Brick Street and a board member from the Poetry Society of Indiana.

All entries are due by March 30 at zionsvilleculturaldistrict.org. The winners will be announced during National Poetry Month in April.

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