project leader
David H
Main Street
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Matching grant will double your donation!

the project

Calling all poets, poetry lovers, and lovers of Middlebury: You could have your poem engraved into Middlebury’s downtown sidewalks! 

Our team of local artists and creative community builders dreamt that our downtown sidewalks could be the slate for a trail of poems. The dream involved people of all ages and abilities getting inspired to write poems about our community. We imagined many more people ambling across town to find and read them. That dream is starting to come true thanks to an Animating Infrastructure grant from the Vermont Arts Council, which will pay for five poems to be installed in the next year. We are aiming to raise funds for additional poems through Ioby and ArtPlace. PLEASE chip in what you can! 

The Library, local schools, bookstores, poets, poetry groups, the town, and downtown organizations and businesses are all excited to see this happen - especially during the next year when our downtown will be turned inside-out by the rail and bridge construction. Our first contest will launch this fall and the winning poem will be engraved in front of the library. We will continue to hold contests for additional locations throughout the next year. Poems will be selected by community members in a blind judging process after issuing an open call for original submissions from the public.

In addition to the sidewalk poems, we are organizing poetry events, pop-up art, and celebrations all tied to poetry and the downtown.

Word On The Street will be the first of its kind in Vermont. Supporting partners include Middlebury Underground, Community Workshop, the Department of Public Dreams, the Better Middlebury Partnership, Ilsley Library, the Town of Middlebury, and many local teachers, writers, poets, and artists. To connect with the organizers, learn more or get involved, contact or find Word On The Street on Facebook or on Instagram

Word On The Street proposes that anyone can be a poet, though they might not know it. 

the steps

1. The FIRST contest will start in October 2019

2. Contests for the other locations will launch throughout 2019 - 2020

3. Poem selections and announcing winners will begin in the winter of 2020

4. Poem installations will begin in the spring of 2020

5. We will celebrate all the poets in the summer or fall of 2020!

why we're doing it

We hope the project will inspire people to read, write, and celebrate poetry, all while building deeper connections to each other and our town. 


Poem installation costs (tools, stencils, time, permits): $2000

Winning poet award: $200

Panelist honorarium: $100

Communications (posters, publications): $2600

ioby Platform Fee $35
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $156




Matching grant will double your donation!


We will receive up to $15,000 in match funding through ioby's Artists Lead! match. Give today and your donation can be doubled (up to $1,000 per donor)!

thank you!


Poetry contest No.1 is launched!

For more info send an email to or find us on FB and IG @sidewalkpoetry



This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


  • Amey Ryan
  • Michael Hollis
  • Caitlin G.
  • Bill Roper and Barbara Ganley
  • Blue Ledge Farm
  • s. palmer
  • Anonymous
  • Stacey Rainey & Cort Boulanger
  • Aaron
  • NC
  • Nathan Cha
  • Daniel