A life-size topographical map draws attention to the contours of the earth beneath the city’s grid.


School Avenue, Fayetteville, Arkansas


Thermoplastic line striping

7 city blocks long, width of street and sidewalk

Commissioned by the Walton Arts Center, NEA Our Town Grant

In Collaboration with University of Arkansas Community Design Center



Topo Map tells an ecological story directly on the pavement of Fayetteville's busy School Avenue. Rendered in vivid blue and orange lines, this life-size topographical map runs across the avenue and highlights the often-overlooked presence of urban nature.

The long, steep climb between two of Fayetteville’s most important cultural institutions, the award-winning Fayetteville Public Library and the Walton Arts Center, is enlivened by a three-block-long lesson in ecological literacy. (video credit: Travis Kersh)


Thermoplastic line striping, a durable material used in road work, creates both the dots and the lines. Together, these marks highlight the ways that changes in urban elevation, storm water management, and urban hardscape interact. Everyone who uses the Avenune can notice how topography plays an integral role in rainwater's routes.


Topographical lines interact with a series of bright blue dots that mark the path of rain as it flows down the Avenue's slope, inviting visitors and residents to consider the connections between topography and urban rain water flow.

Just as topographers use 2-D lines to tell a 3-D story, Topo Map uses simple lines to show how the earth buckles and curves beneath the city's grid. 


Part of an initiative to make School Avenue more pedestrian-oriented, this artwork participates in an interdisciplinary livability project that links public housing, cultural institutions, an entertainment district, and under-developed land. It also helps to integrate public art with street and storm water facilities, and raises the ecological literacy of Fayetteville’s downtown residents and patrons.

Working with the city of Fayetteville and the Street Department, this project complies with traffic safety rules while showing the flow of water down this steep street.

Supported in part by an NEA Our Town Grant, Topo Map was designed in collaboration with the City of Fayetteville, the University of Arkansas Community Design Center, and the Walton Arts Center.