Art Downtown

Toynbee Tiles in St. Louis

by Michael R. Allen

Have you ever seen one of the “Toynbee tiles” in St. Louis while walking around downtown St. Louis? I have spotted one on Chestnut Street near Kiener Plaza, and one around the Railway Exchange Building at Sixth and Olive streets.

In case you are wondering what I am talking about, let me explain. In several American cities for the last 25 years, strange linoleum tiles have appeared embedded in downtown streets, usually at a crosswalk.

The tiles carry the strange message: “Toynbee Idea: In Movie 2001, Resurrect Dead on Planet Jupiter.”

An artist is making a documentary about these strange urban artworks, whose creator remains unidentified. Read the story transcript from NPR for more information.