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Professor in Tennessee's art project aims to inspire people to vote

Posted at 12:44 PM, Sep 30, 2020

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. - It's art with a message, and the purposeful signs can be found throughout Middle Tennessee.

The word "vote" is written on each of Paul Collins' artistic animal signs. The art pieces range in shapes sizes and species. Some are even hidden from plain sight while others can't be missed.

It's become quite the scavenger hunt for some on the lookout for these signs.

"I look around and place them by bus stops," Collins said. "I look for the corners that have 'vote for me' signs because that’s fair game."

Collins, an Austin Peay State University art professor, started the project 100 days before election day. Although he only planned to create one a day counting down until November 3, more and more people started requesting the signs and now he's made over 200. The signs can be spotted from Springfield to Nashville to Brentwood and Clarksville.

Collins is a New Yorker who moved to Tennessee a decade ago and has used this project to see his new home state.

"A lot of this is getting to know your city," said Collins. "it’s been great to my family part of this was just a love letter to the city and go to places I haven’t been."

Collins is doing all of this out of his own pocket and gives away the signs for free. He says as long as it inspires residents to register and vote, it's a job well done.

"Vote that's it, it's really simple," Collins said, "Exercise the joy and responsibility of being American and vote."

The voter registration deadline is October 5. A map of where his artwork is located can be found here.

The Clarksville area has an installation of 31 pieces on the Austin Peay State University campus.

This story was first reported by Seena Sleem at WTVF in Nashville, Tennessee.