Saranac Lakers might’ve noticed that words appear before their eyes on sidewalks through downtown Saranac Lake when it rains. How did it come to be there? Two groups came together to make something magical happen–the Raining Poetry Project.
The Adirondack Center for Writing and the Saranac Lake Arts and Culture Advisory Board partnered to bring this project to life. Inspired by similar projects across the country, the collaboration brings unique public art installations to Saranac Lake.
“Raining poetry gives us a reason to look forward to rainy weather: poetry when you need it the most,” said Nathalie Thill, executive director of Adirondack Center for Writing. Because the paint remains invisible until it rains, the poems appear suddenly when water touches it, acting as a surprise for both residents and visitors.
While figuring out what poems to paint, both groups agreed that members of the community were the best people to decide the final selections. From 20 choices, six were selected, with a mix of local and national poets.
Excerpts of poems from Hanif Abdurraqib, Stuart Bartow, Neil Gaiman, Mary Oliver, Mary Sanders Shartle and Danez Smith were chosen for the project. Full-length original versions of the poems and more info about the project is available at the ACW website, www.adirondackcenterforwriting.org.
A video captures the beauty of the Raining Poetry Project during the reveal event with one of the poets, Mary Sanders Shartle. The video is viewable at https://youtu.be/gtWyDQ3UgUk, and it was produced by Bing Bang Boom, Inc. and shot by Jordan Craig.
Photos: Top: From left to right: Kathy Ford, from the Arts and Culture Advisory Board, Lucy Thill, Joe Thill, Nathalie Thill, Beverly Bridger and Mary Sanders Shartle during the poem reveal at the Saranac Lake Post Office. Photo credit: Jordan Craig. Above: Poet Mary Sanders Shartle (left) and Nathalie Thill, executive director of Adirondack Center for Writing, (right) celebrate during the Raining Poetry Project reveal. Photo credit: Baylee Annis, Adirondack Center for Writing