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Paint the Town One Pole at a Time

How the Moon City Creative District is using painted light poles to bring art to their district and make it stand out as a unique and creative Springfield community.

By Michaela Satterfield

Sep 2019

Painted Light Poles in the Moon City Creative District in Springfield, MO
Photo courtesy Moon City Creative DistrictPainted utility poles like these let visitors know they’re in Moon City Creative District.

Utility poles are everywhere, but rarely are they noticed by passers-by. They usually vary only in which shade of gray their weathered wood takes on. The poles in Springfield’s Moon City Creative District tell a different story. The district paints its poles in rainbow shades to mark the territory. 

Twice a year, artists of all skill levels gather for the Paint a Pole Stroll to transform utility poles into works of art. Linda Passeri, a coordinator for the stroll, says painting the poles is an easy way to let visitors know they are in the district. It’s also a way to take something already there and give it a creative purpose.

It’s no wonder members of the district chose such a creative way to outline the boundaries. Many artists live in the neighborhood and use their home studios as commercial spaces to sell art. The Moon City Creative district falls between Dale and Chase Streets and Broadway and Washington Avenues. You can find a map that marks painted and unpainted poles in the district at mooncitycreativedistrict.com.

“Utility poles are unique canvases that can be a challenge to work with.”
— Linda Passeri

Passeri traveled to the Fernwood Arts District in Vancouver, British Columbia, five years ago to learn the basics of utility pole painting. Passeri and the team she was with learned how to bring the tradition home. After an agreement was made with City Utilities, which owns the poles, the semiannual pole painting tradition began.

Passeri says utility poles are unique canvases that can be a challenge to work with. She once painted a pole with deep grooves on a windy day. The pole is still one of her favorites. Anyone can take part. “We just want as many people [as possible] to paint something that is for the public—something they can share with the community,” Passeri says.

Be on the Lookout for the Next Stroll

PRE-REGISTER

Pre-register or show up the day of at the Charlie Norr Neighborhood Center (316 W. Atlantic St., Springfield). All painting supplies are provided. Donations are welcome, but the event is free. 

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