South-east stairs to Hawrelak Park

William Hawrelak Park Rd NW, Edmonton, AB T6G, Canada

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Stories & Visions

Poetry Stairs Up and Down the Valley

Shared by Bernd Hildebrandt Poetry Stairs Up and Down the Valley Photo

Past Trial Location: South-east stairs to Hawrelak Park from Groat Road in 2017
Future Locations: Any of the numerous (between 70 and 120) sets of wooden stairs leading in and out of either the river valley or any of the joining creek systems.

The original activity was installed for the June 2017 version of ‘100 in 1 Day’ Event and featured the work of Sergio Serrano, Liz Ingram and Bernd Hildebrandt.

The purpose of this action was to:
a) add a less utilitarian function to the process of walking up long sets of stairs; 
b) to highlight the numerous wooden stairs as a unique Edmonton feature; 
c) to encourage future actions to utilize the many other stairs in the river valley;
d) provide a cultural feature that communicates between people in a natural setting.

Edmonton is somewhat unique in the fact that it has such a deep river valley running through the entire city. The City of Edmonton has done a great job in maintaining a well used trail system that incorporates numerous wooden stairs - these should become a publicized feature of Edmonton. The opportunities are far-reaching. The stairs themselves are quite amazing in themselves, sometimes like little frogs helping you up a short grade, or like snakes or waterfalls reaching high up an embankment - but they are just a bit bland and a bit too utilitarian for, what are often, quite spectacular structures.

In doing the project many people indicated how much they enjoyed the process of walking or jogging up the poetry stairs - it was a real surprise to them to encounter the colour and words - the climb was just so much more joyful and less laborious.

Installations could feature poetry, words, images, languages as well as graphic and visual art as well. Some could be permanent while others would be temporary - maybe event specific. Designs for installation could be developed for both permanent and temporary situations in conjunction with City staff. Stair installations need to be low maintenance, as well as allow for easy installation and replacement. Not only the riser section of the treads should be used, but perhaps also handrails, the top surface of the tread, and the landings.

It would encourage walking, while utilizing both community sourced poems as well as poems from established poets and visual artists.

Poetry Stairs Up and Down the Valley Photo

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