St. Paul, MN – July 19, 2021 – Dr. Artika Tyner is a winner in the 2021 Sidewalk Poetry Competition. Her submission paid tribute to the historic Rondo neighborhood where she grew up. The contest is part of the city’s $1 million sidewalk replacement project.
“I’m honored to be selected as a 2021 Sidewalk Poetry winner,” said Tyner. “My poem on my hometown, Rondo, and the transformative power of Afro-futurism, will be stamped into sidewalks across Saint Paul.”
The short poems were limited to 300 characters and a range of messages were expressed in those writings. Entries were by turns empowering, humorous, insightful, and inspiring. Tyner, founder of the non-profit Planting People Growing Justice® Leadership Institute, submitted the following:
“I AM…Rondo and connected to a rich cultural history of unity, faith, and purpose.
I AM…my African roots. I AM…freedom and justice.”
Tyner’s poem celebrates her Rondo heritage. Like countless other African American communities, the Rondo community was impacted by the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956. The community was cut in half by the construction of highway I-94. This led to displacement, loss of generational wealth, and small business closures. She combines this history with her cultural roots in her motherland, the continent of Africa.
The Sidewalk Poetry Contest was launched by the City of Saint Paul in partnership with Public Art Saint Paul. The competition was open to St. Paul residents of all ages and backgrounds. Submissions celebrated the diversity of the city and encompassed poems in English, Spanish, Dakota, Hmong, and Somali, along with English translations.
The contest was curated by accomplished poets Bao Phi and Sagirah Shahid. Both served as members of the jurors, along with fellow poets Rubin Hardin, Tou Saik Lee, Mark Tissen, and Marian Hassan. The Sidewalk Poetry Contest originated in 2008 with Public Art Saint Paul City Artist, Marcus Young, under the name of “Everyday Poems for City Sidewalks.”
The project was made possible through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. It’s also sponsored by the John and Ruth Huss Fund, and the McKnight, Hardenbergh, and Boss Foundations.
Winning entries will be immortalized in residential sidewalks throughout the city. The poems provide a voice for the residents of the city and an important art installation, while creating points of contemplation and reflection. More than 1,000 poems have been stamped in city sidewalks to date, with the goal of eventually having a poem displayed on all of St. Paul’s sidewalks.
About Dr. Artika Tyner
Dr. Artika Tyner is the founder of Planting People Growing Justice® Leadership Institute. She’s a passionate educator, author, and advocate for justice. An engaging speaker and dynamic presenter on leadership, civil rights, diversity, and social justice topics, Dr. Tyner has helped audiences and organizations across the globe gain new tools for leading social change. Her goal is to teach, educate and inspire.
Company Name: Planting People Growing Justice® Leadership Institute
Contact Person: Jacklyn Milton
Email: Send Email
Phone: (651) 303-6566
City: Saint Paul
Country: United States