Using a nontoxic, biodegradable paint, five staffers from Duffy & Shanley hit the streets to stencil messages promoting a homeless shelter.
Some 30 or 40 messages comprised the "Street Smart" campaign, created for Amos House in Providence, R.I. One of the stencils was a chalk outline. "It's not where a man died. It's where he slept," read the copy, accompanied by the name and phone number of Amos House.
Despite complaints that the work defaced property and glorified graffiti, Deborah Brayton, executive director of Amos House, said the response was "overwhelming. This really communicated to one person at a time in a way that wasn't threatening."
The campaign was the idea of copywriter Michael Silvia and art director Sixten Abbott, who were inspired by a homeless man living in an underpass near the agency's downtown Providence locale.
"Unfortunately," said Silvia, "it's easier to turn away from a human being than to turn away from something written on the street."