›› Phyllis Ferguson, Steve Miller, & Linda Passeri

Why did we make a 4,000 mile ­journey from Springfield, Missouri USA to ­Fernwood? We came because your soul pole project is the biggest that we found anywhere in the world. We wanted to learn how to put one on properly and do it in our own community on October 18th, 2014. We read about it, watched videos, and looked at lots of pictures of your painted poles. They are beautiful, exciting, and fun. Missouri is ‘The Show-Me State’ so we wanted to see it firsthand.

As we visited with Beth, Emily, Mila, and Lee and then walked the streets of ­Fernwood. We sensed that there is ­something much greater here than paint on poles. We felt the spirit of unity and love of community that is embedded in Fernwood through this effort. The poles are much bigger than the initiative—they are a record of your ­neighborhood’s history and commentaries on life. They are memorials and declarations of love. They are ­commitment to a place and snapshots of time. They are the dreams and heartbeat of your neighbourhood.

The pole that we painted is our ­tribute to the people of Fernwood; those who make it the special place where we were warmly ­welcomed and felt at home. It is ­Steampunk, yes. But, it is more than gears and cogs painted on a pole. It is a symbol of how we work together and the energy from that work is manifested through stronger ­community. The bridge at the bottom ­represents the ­connection between ­Fernwood and Moon City ­Creative ­District.

Thank you to those who stopped by while we painted and especially to the Fernwood neighborhood for showing us how a public art project is so much more than paint on poles.