READ BETWEEN THE SIGNS

Last weekend, we had occasion to visit the town of Meadville, Pennsylvania, about a 45-minute trip from the Erie area.   Almost directly off the Interstate exit is the Department of Transportation.  An unassuming little building I know, but……..1 (2)Directly in front of the Department of Transportation offices we viewed the most amazing street mural made from (of all things!) old road signs!  Appropriate, huh?1 (22)Apparently, this project (called Read Between the Signs) was begun in 2002 and is a collaboration between the artist, Amara Geffen,the Department of Transportation (which was, I guess, wondering what to do with a bunch of old road signs when they were upgrading them), and the nearby Allegheny College’s Center for Economic and Environmental Development.  According to what I read online after I got back that day, they add another section to this mural each year so it’s constantly a work in progress.   This amazing road mural makes a ride to a very small town a whole lot more interesting with this unique artwork highlighting some of the area’s pastimes and history.     

You have to check this out! I wish I could show you how far this stretches.   Alas, to string them all together would never fit as one upload, but you have to see the outstanding creativity of this.    It’s just extraordinary!1 (3)It highlights:

The  weather seasons in Meadville….1 (4) 1 (41)1 (40) 1 (42)  The nearby Conneaut Lake Park1 (20)

1 (25)The wildlife in the area…1 (34) 1 (38) 1 (32)Some of the local leisure time activities…1 (19) 1 (17) 1 (16) 1 (15) 1 (44) 1 (39)

1 (9)The farms aplenty…1 (28)11 (26) 1 (29) 1 (30)The trees commonly found nearby…1 (27)1 (37) And of course, where there are trees, there is a season to rake leaves….1 (33)Some of the town buildings….1 (5)1 (12) 1 (11)And okay, I’m not really sure what this notates!  1 (23)Even driving around town on Route 6! 1 (21)1 (31)And……to top it off…..at the very edge of the DOT property, they put in a flower garden!    How cool are these?   1 (47)

1 (1)

I know this post is a bit late for Earth Day, but I can’t think of a more excellent or interesting use for old road signs, can you?   

 

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71 thoughts on “READ BETWEEN THE SIGNS

  1. Dang! We were just in Conneaut last weekend. Wish I would’ve known to look for this! I’ve seen the flowers, but not the amazing mural! I’ll be looking for it! Thanks for sharing!!

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  2. Wow! This is totally mind-blowing. What a lot of thought and creative effort has gone into this work of art. Thanks for all your photos, Torrie. I found them so fascinating, and particularly love the ones with the hot air balloons and the trees. The flower garden is beautiful. 🙂

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    • Mind-blowing is just the right word for this on so many levels…..the pride in the community, the coming together of so many great ideas, the whole reuse of so much material, the creativity, oh, I could go on and on. Am glad you enjoyed it too!

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  3. What a brilliant piece of creativity!! Judging from the photos, I’m guessing that actually seeing the massive mural is quite spectacular. The flower garden is the icing on the cake though 🙂

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    • Hah! Yes, that is one garden I really do love. But you know, driving by this isn’t what I’d call spectacular in itself…as with most things around here, it’s quite low-key, but when you realize what it is and really look at what they’ve done with it, it really does blow your mind. It was enough to make me park, get out, and walk along for 30 minutes snapping pix and and enough to make me come home wanting to learn more about it so I looked it up. So all in all I’d say it definitely is a pretty powerful piece of art! 🙂

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  4. How amazing, and how inspiring that a little town has shown itself creative enough to do something extraordinary. Just goes to show big sculptural projects don’t have to be just in big cities with big resources. 🙂

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  5. What a great piece of art! It’s easy to tell that they have put a lot of time and thought into that project. Maybe the guitar guy and the little girl with the ice cream cone is for a town fair? If they have one, of course.

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    • Hah! Yes, I always get so into this sort of thing and it makes me really happy until I figure out that there are people out there that so far surpass my creativity that I’ve been left in the dust! LOL. But yes, this is really something to behold!

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  6. this really is an earth day kind of post – but really all year long can be earth day – right? and thanks for the many pictures – I enjoyed every one! truly talented artists and I think Ia m going to try and stop here on the way up to WNY (well the next time we go – and who knows when that will be) – but do you have a favorite?

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    • Do I have a favourite part of this mural? Wow. Not sure I’ve considered that. I was just in awe of those whole thing. I really like those flowers in the garden, but I also thought it was pretty cool to see that PennDOT truck shoveling snow…that’s a welcome sight around these parts in the winter! 🙂 I would say it’s definitely an easy thing to stop off and see this. It’s about 30 seconds off that Meadville exit on 79N. Can’t miss it.

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      • yeah I liked the way the snow was in a swirl as it was being scraped. And my fav might be the roller coaster one- but I find that another part I love is the design that came with the like signs – like the weight limit ones and the 45 speed limit –

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        • Oh, yes! I agree there,….the sections made out of like-kinded signs were the absolute best of them. That barn, for instance, was awesome! Also, you can’t see it here, but there are actually some parts of this that move when the wind blows (purposely) and those parts are also quite neat.

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          • what a great idea to have some interact with the wind. and the recycle part of this is powerful = because as technology updates for reflective surface or as the signs just wear out – what an artsy graveyard – way better than teenagers bedrooms ha! and again, I appreciate the time you took to post so many of the shots you took. At first when i was reading I thought you were only going to give us a few – and you even wrote something about how it would take forever to show it all – but then the post just flowed and it was a treat (for me at least)

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            • I’m so glad you said that…..I was actually worried about posting so many photos, but in the end, I just couldn’t find anything to eliminate…it felt unfair somehow to leave a scene out if you know what I mean. Anyway, thanks so much for all the feedback! I always look forward to your comments!

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              • yes -and I think I told someone about this recently – but I always love when a blogger gives us a little note about what is coming – like if someone has written 2,000 words and they say – “I know this is long so feel free to read the bulleted points…” or something like that – well it makes things more palatable – but I also think with photos people can skim easier and so in my book there can never be to many. well let me take that back – I guess it depends on the post – like on one of my florida posts I need up taking out about five photos after a restless Jo comment – not because there were too many – but her succinct little feedback really helped me see that a certain flow was missing – I took out four extraneous pics and it felt better. Also since then I have slowed down and not rushed a post out there – ha! this may sound obvious to everyone – but for some stupid reason I was feeling like I had to hit publish – but now I will take a full week if I am not “feeling it” – or longer – no need to rush and if it comes easily – like most of the time it does – well so be it –
                anyhow, the photos here really show the grand scale of this project – and the many give us a feel for the unique one s like the bird with the mismatched signs int he backdrop…

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              • I think I hit that point of taking the time to “feel it” before you do…..sometimes I just don’t write because it just hasn’t formed in my mind yet. Once it forms in my brain, then it’s a pretty quick turnaround on the posting. But again, thanks for your feedback on things. Like you said, it is really helpful. I will also remember to try and “warn” when my post is overly long, etc.

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              • well only warn if it feels like it needs it- because otherwise it could be suggestive (ha – and now this is reading way too much into things) but I like the point about how it has to form in your mind – anyhow, have a nice day
                xxoo

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  7. I LOVE this! I’m a huge fan of street art although this is taking it to another level entirely. Does Pennsylvania market this at all? I mean, as you’re driving down the highway does anything lead you to it or did you just happily stumble across it? Great post, Torrie, I really enjoyed seeing this.

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    • Barbara, that’s just the thing….there was absolutely nothing proclaiming this. We simply drove by and saw it. I almost fell out of the vehicle trying to turn around and gawp at it! Had to stop and admire. It definitely should have some notice. I guess that’s part of why I posted it here! 🙂 Am glad you enjoyed it too!

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  8. You have clicked some fantastic pictures here! And what creativity… I think this is the first time I am coming across such a concept – easy on the eye, creative and very inspiring!

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    • Ahhh! Very sorry…..your comment totally got lost in the onslaught of my life! Prajakta, I really appreciate your comments on my posts…I look forward to every one. Am glad you found this interesting. I think it is very inspiring myself! 🙂

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  9. This is truly a labor of love and art and massive amounts of creativity. What a fantastic project. I hope this is documented in as many travel books and online adventure websites as possible. I can imagine it would be a terrific tourist attraction for the town.
    It’s now on my list of must-sees.
    Thanks for the many wonderful pictures, Torrie. I’m hankerin’ a road trip to Meadville.

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    • Oh! I know! It was a really exciting find when I realized what they had done. I think all cities should be doing this! What a way to promote both the city and recycling, huh?

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