If you’ve spent any time in the East Village, you may have noticed the colorful, mosaic-covered light poles that line the streets. Unofficially dubbed the “Legendary Mosaic Trail,” the poles have been a pet project of artist Jim Power for 25 years now. Made from glass, mirror and other recycled materials found on the streets, the poles each immortalize an East Village place, event or person, creating an outdoor history museum in mosaic form. Power has now launched an Indiegogo campaign to help preserve his East Village legacy for future generations to enjoy. Read on to see how you can help!
Power can often be seen repairing his mosaics on the streets with his signature white pony tail, cane and trusty dog. His first pole was completed in 1985, and in 1988 the DOT authorized Power to add his artistic flair to up to 80 others. Collecting old tile, salvaged dishware, glass and mirror, he set out to add sparkle to the then-seedy streets, hand cutting his materials as he went. His efforts gained him recognition from Mayor Bloomberg, as well as an induction in the City Lore Peoples Hall of Fame in 2004.
Power’s mosaics aren’t just decorative – they also tell the history of the East Village’s storied past. Many poles are tributes to characters or venues of the past, like the Fillmore East, a legendary theater that has been long closed, or musicians that got their start in venues in the area. There is even a gangster section, as Lucky Luciano used to live in and cause trouble on the East Village streets.
Over time, the elements and vandals have caused many of Power’s mosaics to fall into disrepair, so he’s launched an Indiegogo campaign to fix them and create new ones. If you’re interested in helping him out, please visit the link below to contribute to his cool cause.