Art project uses potholes for inspiration

     (Image via AP/The Times-Tribune, Scranton)

    (Image via AP/The Times-Tribune, Scranton)

    The most irksome pothole in your neighborhood could be more than a tire-busting nuisance.

    With a little creativity, one Scranton art company thinks that gaping hole of pavement could be a Barbie doll’s pool, a miniature fishing hole, a pint-sized construction site or anything else you can dream up to fill the space.

    Scranton’s Pop Up Studio has challenged residents to create their own pothole art and submit photos of their creations to a contest.

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    “It’s a bonding experience, if you live in Scranton, to run over a pothole and bust a tire,” said Ruth Koelewyn of the Pop Up Studio. “We want to turn it into a positive thing.”

    This year, the group invited the public to participate in #Pothole by decorating a pothole, snapping a photo, and submitting it to the Pop Up Studio’s Facebook page by May 15. Once submitted, the public will vote on their favorite potholes once per day until May 31.

    The winning artist will receive four new tires and alignment from Kost Tire, and other participants will receive car wash coupons.

    Ms. Koelewyn said a group of artists from the studio first attempted pothole art in 2012, wandering Scranton’s side roads in search of the best subjects.

    “We were putting beer bottles in potholes of ice,” she said, recalling one of the group’s ideas. “An older lady was looking out the window of her condo and she was just laughing at us.”

    After the group posted photos of their creations online, fans of the studio started to submit their own.

    In one memorable submission, Ms. Koelewyn said the artist created a “Potty Pothole,” by constructing a toilet complete with plunger, toilet paper and crossword puzzle over a pothole in their neighborhood.

    “The main goal is to see how much creativity you can have,” she said. “We’re really looking forward to this year.”

    Ms. Koelewyn’s mother, Kate Corby, sent pothole art all the way from East Lansing, Michigan in 2012.

    “We found a pothole shaped just like Michigan,” she said. “We picked a dandelion and planted it right in the middle, which is where we live, and then we took a picture of it. It just felt playful.”

    While potholes still populate many Scranton streets, Ms. Koelewyn encouraged aspiring pothole artists to stay safe by sticking to side roads.

    “We ask that everyone be safe; obey rules, obey laws,” she said. “The side roads are probably the best bet for safety and good potholing.”

    In the end, Ms. Koelewyn hopes this contest will give residents something to look forward to about the inevitable return of potholes each winter.

    “We want people to say things like, ‘Did you see that pothole out there? I think I could use it as a bathtub!” she said.

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