An abandoned building on one of the main streets I frequent drove me crazy. The owners boarded up the windows with cheap plywood, and for weeks, then months, I walked past every day noting the latest graffiti. Most of the time it was something negative, gross, hurtful. The owners would paint over the black spray, and the chase began again. One day the owners removed the plywood and replaced it with thicker plywood. I wasn't sure why, exactly.
That same night I was cleaning out my garage and came across a couple of rolls of velcro and a huge roll of clear contact paper. I had an idea! I spent the entire night writing words and phrases - some plain, some New Mexican, some dirty, some colorful - on thick cardstock. I cut the words into individual rectangles and laminated them with the contact paper, adding a swatch of velcro on the back of each piece.
At 3 am, when the town still slept, I walked to the forgotten building and stapled velcro lines to the plywood windows. I screwed an old plastic gardening bucket to the side of one of the windows and filled it with my letters. I added a sign:
S.O.S. We are scared of the silence and are speaking out!
I invited folks to play with the words, to create a poem, to leave a message for the town. And you know what? Magic happened! My underground poetry boards became a huge hit! The teenagers were the biggest players - they didn't deface them! They wrote poetry - as dirty as they could, mind you - but it was real, awesome, thoughtful poetry!
No one ever found out that I created the underground poetry boards! After many months, the velcro began to curl from the relentless desert sun, and the words faded. One day I walked past and everything was gone, a fresh coat of paint covering the boarded windows. I smiled. It was time.
Here are some photos. What can YOU do, in secret, without anyone knowing it was YOU, in YOUR town? How can you open a mind to the idea of creating art?