‘Little Canada’ sign returns to Maple Street

A new mural by local artist Lee Porter pays tribute to a street artist that placed a “Maple Street: Fayetteville’s Little Canada” sticker on an electrical box nearly a decade ago

Staff photo

An unofficial Fayetteville landmark is back in place, thanks to the work of a local artist working on an initiative to beautify the city through public art.

Lee Porter, a local landscape architect and artist, pained a version of the “Maple Street: Fayetteville’s own Little Canada” sign back on the utility box at the corner of Maple Street and College Avenue.

Artist Lee Porter at work

Staff photo

Porter’s painting was modeled after a roughly 3-foot square sticker with a similar design placed on the box (presumably) by an anonymous street artist roughly 8 years ago. The sticker had become somewhat of an inside joke for locals in-the-know to look for as they drove down College Avenue over the years, and the longer it stayed there, the more it became a part of the neighborhood.

A Flyer contributor wrote about it back in 2009, and someone (likely the artist him/herself) made some t-shirts with the design back then.

The sticker hung around much longer than similarly placed street art installations around town, probably due in part to its particular charm, but was finally removed last fall when Keep Fayetteville Beautiful and the City of Fayetteville were prepping the utility box as part of their initiative to commission local artists to paint several of them around town.

Porter said that once she found out she was selected to paint that particular utility box, she knew she had to incorporate the street artist’s work into her design.

“I lived on Lafayette Street when I was in college, and I think I started noticing it then,” she said. “For me, that sticker was a landmark. It was like a street sign, so for it to not be there was just wrong.”

Porter’s design is a colorful sunset backdrop, with the Maple Street graphic painted over it near the top. She said she tried to stay true to the original artist’s design, but decided to take the liberty to make the graphic more circular than the original square sticker.

Porter started painting the mural back in the fall, and due to unseasonably warm weather over the weekend, was able to finish the project on Sunday.

She still plans to go back and paint the words “Council of Bulbous Globules” beneath the leaf, something that also appeared on the original design.

Otherwise, the mural is finished and ready to be viewed at the southeast corner of Maple and College. Nice work, Lee.

For more information about the Keep Fayetteville Beautiful initiative, and the city’s Utility Box Beautification program, visit fayetteville-ar.gov.