Art Students at Lawrence U. Design Warm and Fuzzy Manhole Covers

Art Students at Lawrence U. Design Warm and Fuzzy Manhole Covers 1

Photographs by Rachel E. Crowl, Lawrence U.

Eli Hungerford prepares his thumbprint for posterity on a form that will be cast in iron as a manhole cover.

Pedestrians on College Avenue in Appleton, Wis., may have noticed recent changes underfoot: decorated manhole covers, emblazoned with such images as a hand holding a human liver, an elephant lifting a mouse, and a set of eight portraits of Nelson Mandela.

They're "compassionate manhole covers," a student undertaking dreamed up by Rob Neilson, an associate professor of art at Lawrence University who specializes in public art. The bas-relief covers are part of a citywide project that