Sidewalk Poetry – Pocket Park

Akwi Nji smiling and looking at the camera
Artist Name

Akwi Nji

Artist Info



Veterans Memorial Courtyard 10 W State St

Project Sponsor(s)

Community Foundation of Marshall County's Rebuild Fund
The City of Marshalltown

Installation Date

June 2023

Project Category
  • Arts + Culture Experiences
  • Public Art
  • Sculpture/3D

Sidewalk Poetry – Pocket Park

Following the 2018 tornado community leaders identified the importance of moving forward with a new Master Plan for Downtown Marshalltown as part of the recovery process. In addition to the Downtown Master Plan, the Parks and Recreation Master Plan identified areas within the community that are not within a quarter or half mile of a current park, and this location is outside of the half-mile buffer. The placement of a park in this location will increase access and reduce the distance to travel to a city park for a large area of residents on the north side of the community while providing a new amenity in Downtown.

To further enhance the project, the Arts + Culture Alliance commissioned Iowa poet, Akwi Nji, to lead a sidewalk poetry project in the park. Akwi facilitated conversations with community members who had stories to share of their experience from the tornado. From those stories and conversations, she created 11 different poems that are stamped into the concrete in the pocket park. The poems tell the story of Marshalltown’s resiliency. Listen to all of the poems here!

The pocket park is located between the Veterans Memorial Coliseum and City Hall off of West State Street. For the Pocket Park to be safe and successful, the adjacent alley has been converted for pedestrians only. The pocket park includes a pickle ball court, benches, green space, and the paper airplane mural.


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*The Arts + Culture Alliance is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your contribution is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. If you have any questions, please contact us.