Looking at the litter she came across on a hiking trail, nationally recognized artist Ana Flores asked herself a question. "How do you turn slobs into poets?"
As the artist-in-residence at the Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed in Rhode Island, Flores always looked for creative ways to encourage people to appreciate nature. So she came up with the idea for Poetry of the Wild, a collaborative art project coming to Colorado Springs this week.
The Smokebrush Gallery and other local supporters of the arts worked with Flores and recruited local artists, poets and students to design and set up boxes that hold pocket-sized journals, where passersby can contribute their thoughts and poetry.
Because Colorado Springs is more urban than the original project's protected watershed area, the organizers broadened their hunt for fitting box locations.
While Prospect Lake and Calhan's Paint Mines house a couple, so do local libraries, Hillside Community Center and Acacia Park.
"We're redefining wild, in a way," explains Julie Cole, gallery and administrative director at Smokebrush.
Also different are the box designs themselves. Cole says the poems and images used to decorate the Acacia Park box, for instance, talk about coffee shops and the stars. "It's about how the natural environment interacts with the manmade environment," she says.
An auction of journal compilations and poetry boxes will follow. Flores anticipates success here, as she has found in other communities.
"There's so much deep thinking in some of them and some beautiful comments," she says. "It allows you to see the better side of human nature."
Poetry of the Wild art project
Poetry boxes located through mid-July at Acacia Park, Fountain and Manitou Springs Libraries, Prospect Lake, the Paint Mines, The Museum of Mining & Industry, Hillside Community Center and more locations.
Call 444-1012 or visit smokebrush.org for more.