Artists address cracked sidewalks

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - A group of local artists has come up with a unique way to bring attention to what they call a "crack" problem. It's called Art Underfoot and these art pieces aren't just to beautify the sidewalks, but also to draw attention to a potential danger.

"The sidewalks are in bad shape. My main concern is people tripping and falling," said volunteer Elizabeth Thacker.

Elizabeth Thacker and more than 50 other area artists volunteered their time to team up and paint a portion of North Sycamore Street in Petersburg. The goal behind the project is twofold. First, to spruce up the look of the sidewalks, and second to get people to look down and watch where they step.

"So now they'll notice if they're going to walk past a hole (And they'll avoid it?) Yeah," Thacker said.

A local business owner organized the project.

"I watched someone fall and told the city manager, 'Can we please make this better until we have in the budget to brick it in like other sidewalks in ole town?'," said organizer Kimberly Calos.

Nearly 80 pieces have been drawn. Robert Henderson has put in more than 20 hours painting several images.

"I want them to enjoy it. To escape even for a minute and become part of the painting - part of my piece," Henderson said.

And those passing by seem to like the artwork --

"I think it's great. I love it," said Margaret Carlson.

Some spectators did say the images may actually have the opposite effect than intended. That people are so interested in looking at these designs they won't notice those cracks and are more likely to trip and fall. These folks say they just want to help keep people safe -- while giving them something unique to look at.

It's unclear at this point when the city plans on fixing up these sidewalks the project will officially be unveiled tomorrow at "Friday for the Arts" in Petersburg. The event will begin at 6 in the evening. It will take place in the 200 block of North Sycamore Street between Bank and Tabb Streets.

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