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An Artful Stroll

Get ready to see Hilton Head Island in a whole new way! Countless authors, artists, and musicians call the South Carolina Lowcountry home, finding inspiration in its water-filled vistas, unique flora and fauna, fascinating history, and easy-going lifestyle. Now the results of this inspiration have come together on Hilton Head in a multi-media experience that combines sculpture, poetry, and the natural beauty of the island itself.

Blending Art & Technology

Strolling along the Shelter Cove Sculpture Trail, adjacent to the Veterans Memorial Park, it's difficult to decide where to look first: at the sun-speckled waters of Broad Creek or at the striking art installations along the walkway. And just what are all of those "Poetry Trail" signs that seem to crop up along with the sculptures? The new Poetry Trail of Hilton Head Island consists of two dozen sites across the island where visitors and residents alike can access poems written by local writers. Indicated by large metal plaques sporting the Poetry Trail logo, the sites appear near public sculptures and at arts-minded businesses. In many cases, poems were specially selected to enhance their location. For

example, Rollers Wine & Spirits features a poem by Phil Lindsey titled "A Little Tipsy". In the marsh-side Shelter Cove Community Park, a bright red sculpture called "Carocol" is accompanied by Elizabeth Abram's poem "O'Keefe's Woody Orchid"--the writer's own interpretation of what that abstract sculpture might represent. Poems seem to be popping up all over the island, and they've all been composed by local writers.

Phones Out!

A sign at each stop encourages visitors to "Pause for a moment: Enjoy a poem; meet a poet." But where's the poem? That's where technology comes into play. Each easy-to-find numbered sign features two QR codes to scan with your cell phone's camera. The first code will take you to a poem specific to that site, along with information on that local writer. The second code links to the trail's Facebook page, where you can see a current map of the entire route (see image above), plan a full tour, or comment on the poem or location you've just seen. The QR codes allow for regular swapping out of poems to keep the project dynamic for repeat visitors, and the Facebook page's map will be updated as new sites are added. In addition to treating yourself to a bit of fun reading, scanning the sign will also allow the Office of Cultural Affairs to measure metrics that help direct new projects in our arts community.

Teaming Up

The brainchild of local poet Elizabeth Robin, with the technical expertise of Bill Schmitt, the Poetry Trail is an ongoing collaboration between the Island Writers' Network and the Town of Hilton Head Island's Office of Cultural Affairs. To make that dream a reality, dozens of local restaurants, galleries, theatres, shops, and historic sites have already agreed to host Poetry Trail signs, with new spots in the works. Now the final piece of the puzzle is in place: readers are discovering and enjoying this multi-media experience as they explore Hilton Head. "Poetry is compressed storytelling," Robin says, "and we are telling stories of our island."

To learn more about the Poetry Trail of Hilton Head Island, visit or .

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