Rain Poetry Pittsburgh

It’s raining poetry in Pennsylvania!

PA Humanities engaged children from two Pittsburgh neighborhoods in a hands-on community poetry activity facilitated by teaching artists. Haiku are being installed in public spaces with a special rain-activated solution. They are inspired by the theme, “What helps you keep growing?”

All it takes is a splash of water for the poems to sprout up all around as if by magic.

Rain Poetry transforms everyday spaces into opportunities to engage with the humanities — and fosters learning, conversation, and community stewardship along the way.

Featured on CBS Pittsburgh, Talk Pittsburgh, Kidsburgh, KDKA Newsradio, and MacroniKID.

Sparking Imagination

Children’s imaginations were sparked through deep reflections on the theme of growth and its connection to personal and community development.

Under the guidance of teaching artists, workshops were YouthPlaces, Assemble, and YMCA Lighthouse. The workshops teach children that the humanities are an exciting means of imaginative self-expression that builds meaningful relationships and can make change in their neighborhoods. They also got to flex their social emotional learning skills as they collaborated with mentors and community members.


Featured Poems

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

“I really enjoyed seeing the kids work together when they broke off and were writing their own haiku. It was cool to see them take their own initiative and see their creativity come out.”

- Tany Haynes, Afterschool Coordinator/ Assemble Educator

“I saw the excitement in them. It was really nice to see them excited about creating these poems, even when they were very rowdy. If someone wasn’t in that space you would have thought they were arguing, but they were just excited about getting their poems together and creating them. And it was great to hear the conversation between them. It was amazing to see them talking without the phones, not texting but actually communicating with one another.”

- Leanna Lyle, YouthPlaces Site Manager

“Rain Poetry is the most exciting project I have worked on in a very long time. I find it exciting because it is innovative, original and gives our youth autonomy. The idea of working with young people and teens is a challenge I eagerly accept. Everyone has a voice, and the opportunity for these young people to express themselves can be life-changing. It gives them confidence that their thoughts are important.”

- Karen Howard, lead teaching artist


Events and Information

May 17th: In collaboration with our program partner YouthPlaces at Northview Heights, we primarily worked with younger teens and hosted two workshops at this location. Experience the creativity of our students as they share their perspectives on “Northview Nights” through insightful poetry.Don’t miss this opportunity to explore the beauty of Northview Heights through the eyes of its youth.

May 22nd: Discover “the secrets of Homewood” through the lens of cryptid mythology, culminating in a haiku reveal at 5:40 p.m. on May 22 during the “Future Roots” showcase—an outdoor festival with music, a flea market, and more. Don’t miss this Remake Learning event, in partnership with our friends at the YMCA Lighthouse Homewood.

Rain Poetry Locations



YMCA Lighthouse


Northview Heights



Rain Poetry Videos

KDKA Newsradio with Natalie Bencivenga


Philadelphia Project Team

Karen Howard

Lead Teaching Artist

Tany Haynes (Assemble)

Afterschool Coordinator / Educator

Leanna Lyle (YouthPlaces)

Site Manager


Share Your Rain Poetry Photos on Instagram

Use #RainPoetryPittsburgh to share your photos!

The Rain Poetry project in Pittsburgh is made possible with the generous support of the Heinz Endowments, the Richard King Mellon Foundation and the Grable Foundation.

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