Fence Art?

Cornell University and the City of Ithaca began fencing the bridges that run over several of Ithaca’s famous gorges some time in 2010, for safety purposes. Many have opposed these barriers, partly because the fences inhibit a full view of the famous natural beauty of Ithaca’s gorges, a huge part of Ithaca’s identity and college appeal. In fact, “Ithaca is GORGES” t-shirts or bumper stickers are a very common sight on campus, and parodies (Ithaca is SQUIRRELS) are becoming popular.

A common sight that is not quite a parody, however, is “Ithaca is FENCES” stickers. They can be seen on every bridge on campus, and on t-shirts. You can read about the messy details of the fence controversy here; the main reason I give this example of protest is its unconventional form: stickers placed on telephone poles or fence posts that play off a famous (at least locally) play on words.

We’ve shown some examples of interesting and inventive street art before. I frequently visit the art and design blog Colossal, and have always enjoyed finding great images and video of street art that creatively sends a message—protesting or not. I’m not sure if stickers can be compared to some of my favorites from Colossal; looking at these inspiring efforts makes me wonder if the dissent embodied by little black or neon green stickers could be better portrayed in a more artistic manner:

There are also some great street art projects that have less of a political message, but which are too cool not to share here:




There seems to be no end of media for street art to appear in. As Cornell moves from fences to safety nets in the coming year or so, perhaps more imaginative forms of protest will show up as well.

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