Artsy manhole covers, anyone?

Michelle Enger |

Photo: kokke465
Photo: kokke465

Someone stopping to admire a manhole cover isn’t something you see everyday. However, in Appleton, Wis., this has become a norm through “The Compassion Project.”

We heard about this last week on WPR. Twelve custom manhole covers were installed in the city to promote compassion in the community through art. Lawrence University art students created the covers under the instruction of Rob Neilson, professor of art. It was Neilson’s idea to create the one-of-a-kind manhole covers after he saw a unique cover of Nelson Mandela on a trip in Japan and immediately thought of compassion.

Neilson joined forces with Neenah Foundry to make his idea come to life. Neenah gave Neilson’s students the material they needed to depict their idea of compassion through art, and then the foundry turned it in to the manhole covers of  Appletonians see today.

The “compassionate covers” are located in the sidewalk along College Avenue in Appleton. What a great way to turn something from our every day lives into something beautiful. Appleton  is on to something. Who wants to look at plain old manhole covers when you could look at art?