City hopes volunteers will leave Birmingham ‘in stitches’

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published August 21, 2017

BIRMINGHAM — Knitting a beautiful scarf would be sure to keep one person happy, not to mention warm.

But knitting a piece of artwork to wrap around a lamp post or drape over a park bench could bring happiness to countless people.

That’s the idea behind Birmingham in Stitches, a biannual public art installation that “bombs” the city’s downtown in colorful, large-scale knitting and crochet projects that is coming back this fall.

The yarn bombing is an initiative of the Birmingham Public Arts Board in partnership with the Cultural Council of Birmingham-Bloomfield, and they’re currently on the hunt for crafty volunteers to bring the effort to life.

“We have people who return to us each year we do it, and we’re expecting to have even more volunteers than we’ve had in the past,” explained Sean Campbell, assistant city planner, who has been tasked with organizing Birmingham in Stitches. “It’s a really good way to activate public spaces in the community. Having these (art) events goes beyond the stationary sculptures. It’s a way to engage people, whether it’s residents in the area or people coming through as visitors.”

Volunteers of all ages who give their time and talents will create displays that will be placed on trees, parking meter posts, light posts, bicycle racks and benches. After volunteers sign up, they’ll be asked to claim a specific location in town they’d like to decorate. A map of all the approved locations can be found at

Once the pieces are complete, the project will be installed Sept. 16-Oct. 8. And once the pieces are down, they won’t be back for some time.

“This is our third year doing this. The first was in 2012, and the next in 2014. We try to pursue other efforts in the off years. Like, next year we’re hoping to set up a rock-painting project,” Campbell said.

It’s all an attempt to keep visitors to downtown Birmingham interested and surprised by unexpected infusions of color and community.

“To be a vibrant community, you have to offer cultural amenities, and what better way to do that than with public art?” said Birmingham City Manager Joe Valentine. “Art promotes community discussions and adds to the walkable environment as people move throughout the city. It’s a factor in our success as a city.”

Volunteers can learn more by contacting Anne Ritchie at (248) 635-1765 or at