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Heights haikus, readings, music draw eager crowd

Heights Haiku celebration outside Roasted Granola, July 14, 2021Crowd outside Roasted Granola on July 14. See more photos >>

An estimated 300 people attended the “Heights Haiku Celebration” on Wednesday, July 14, a warm summer evening.

Hand-painted neighborhood haikus adorning storefront windows all along the Heights shopping district drew tours. Street musicians performed and a collection of vintage manual typewriters, courtesy of East Arlington’s Cambridge Typewriter, were outside of the Roasted Granola Cafe, where attendees could type up their own haikus on the spot. Inside Roasted Granola, the cafe was sold out for two scheduled readings of the winning poems. 

“Neighborhood Haiku” is a public-art project bringing original poetry to storefront windows along Mass. Ave. near Park Avenue. Of the more than 200 entries, 30 poems, written by Arlington neighbors, were selected to be hand-painted on shop windows. The poems were inspired by the green spaces, history, streets and shops of the distinctive Arlington Heights neighborhood. 

'Pent-up demand'

Robert Davison, one of the organizers of the event and a member of the Arlington Heights Neighborhood Action Plan Implementation Committee, said, “One of the key themes that I have been hearing loud and clear from the community is a strong desire for more arts and culture in the Heights. This event is a key step forward in realizing that vision. The large turnout tonight speaks to the pent-up demand for programming like this and the strong sense of community we have in Arlington."

He continued: "I was very impressed with the level of artistry and thought that the poets brought to their haikus. As a window painter for a handful of these, it was fun looking for ways to visually bring alive a theme or keyword expressed in the haiku. As I was painting the windows, numerous people stopped and shared how much they enjoyed seeing the haikus pop up in the neighborhood. Thanks again to the poets, the window painters, Arts Arlington and to everyone who contributed to the success of this event."

Neighborhood Haiku and Arts Arlington are programs of the Arlington Commission for Arts and Culture. Neighborhood Haiku was organized by Cecily Miller, Jessie Brown, Janet O’Riordan, Julie Horvath and Davison, with support from local business donors and grants from the Arlington Cultural Council and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. The celebration was sponsored by Century 21 Adams and the Roasted Granola Cafe.

The hand-painted poems will be on display through the end of the summer.

For more information about “Neighborhood Haiku,” the winning poets and storefront painters, visit

April 13, 2021: Cultural Council awards 24 grants totaling $17,774


This news announcement was published Friday, July 16, 2021.

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