Swinging for pole art

“I feel like I’m in a real life Footloose, where it’s the old conservative town of old people who make all the rules and all the St. F.X. graduates get out of town,” Jonas Colter, the Evolve Festival organizer, told The Antigonish Casket, after Antigonish mayor Carl Chisholm gave him the whatfor. In part Colter is playing himself out as Kevin Bacon because the event was turned down for  municipal funding, but most of the contention between the town and the eco-hippie-indie-large-pupil fest comes from the Evolve festival posters stapled to telephone poles. They certainly have been, ahem, visible in Halifax.

But as it turns out it was Halifax he had to worry about: the RCMP and a HRM bylaw officer arrested Colter during Evolve for $4,500 of postering fines (18x$250 a pop). The whole thing went down as a bit of a shit-show on both sides, driven, most likely by public complaints. Honestly, I don’t see the Footloose connections (Colter continues to use the reference on Twitter, I feel Chris Penn shaking his head from above, RIP, sir). In that Iowa town the kids weren’t allowed to dance; here, an entrepreneur is being charged for marketing a festival the local old guys hate. But what I am sad about is the insistence that our poles be neat and tidy and not covered in staples, or, in some cases, works of art. It’s part of the urban landscape. Paul Hammond, one half of the talented Yo Rodeo, did a fantastic print of a telephone pole covered in a pattern of rusted staples. Out of context, and minus all the missing kitty posters, it’s gorgeous.

Here is my favourite pole art I’ve encountered lately:

Who's Norman and who put this sad man on a downtown pole?

And then there’s the entrepreneurial artist–drop your change in the bucket in exchange for a handmade Black Eyed Peas or Pride souvenir.

Handmade anonymous art: better than a concert tee.

I’m not sure this is art, but it’s funny. Because it’s true.

Huh. So hipsters do grow on trees...

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