Wisconsin Poetry News

StreetcART: Poetry on Kenosha's Street Cars

By John Bloner, Jr., Kenosha Community Media, Inc.

Poetry is popping up in an unexpected place in Kenosha, WI. Riders on Kenosha's historic, electric streetcars may not only enjoy tours on the Lake Michigan lakefront, taking in museums, shops and cafes, as well as the natural beauty of the water, they may also enjoy local poetry and artwork through a new, community-based project, StreetcART.

Southport Press, a small press publishing opportunity in Kenosha, welcomes area writers and artists to collaborate and create work that's displayed inside five streetcars. The inaugural edition of StreetcART, launched April 5, 2011, contains images from local painters, a collage artist, and a cartoonist, as well as poems by Kenosha and Racine authors, including a piece by Eric Huff, Kenosha's newly-crowned, first Poet Laureate.  Southport Press will solicit new work for display several times each year.

Woodrow Hall Jumpstart Initiative of Madison [another project of Poetry Jumps Off the Shelf whose poems are featured in this issue of VWOnline, eds.] provided start-up funds for this project; StreetcART is also made possible through the work and support of the Kenosha Writers' Guild, Kenosha Transit of the City of Kenosha, and ArtWorks, a Kenosha-based art supply/framing store and gallery.

Kenosha's electric streetcars, built in 1951, ran in Toronto, Ontario for many years until this form of transportation became so popular that Toronto installed new cars to accommodate more passengers.  Each car is painted in a different livery to represent a North American city that currently or once operated streetcars, including Toronto, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Chicago and Johnstown (PA).  The streetcar line in Kenosha began operation in 2000.
Southport Press is a service of Kenosha Community Media, a nonprofit organization, which seeks to build community through media by offering residents the training and tools to make and distribute media.  Visit Southport Press online.

John Bloner, Jr. lives in Kenosha, WI with his wife, Roberta. He manages Southport Press, a small press project and publishing opportunity, with area artists and authors. The Press' upcoming publication is a full-container container, chock full of stuff, including a book on myths, legends, tall tales and folklore (as interpreted by artists and authors), along with assorted ephemera.