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The Source for Public Transportation News and Analysis June 28, 2013
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Public Transit Reaches Out with Art Projects

Whether it's created by students in local schools or as part of a community project, art promoting public transportation is a proven way to bring awareness and involvement to the riding public. Here are a few examples.

In Fort Worth
The Fort Worth Transportation Authority (The T) turned 10 buses in its fleet into moving canvases to showcase the art of Fort Worth Independent School District (FWISD) students who won the agency’s annual “Expressions That Move You” contest.

The artwork of each of the 10 winners—selected from more than 80 entries—will remain on the side of one of The T’s buses through August. Buses rotate routes so each student’s art may be seen in several areas throughout Fort Worth.

The program is a partnership of The T and FWISD to provide additional enrichment. Award recipients included four winners in the kinder­garten through elementary school category and three winners each from the middle and high school categories. One winner in each category received a Grand Prize.

In Snohomish County, WA
Community Transit, ­Snohomish County, WA, recently ­honored nine elementary school students for their first-, second-, and third-place entries in the School Transit Education Program (STEP) Coloring Contest. The agency’s superhero, Oxy Gene—defender of truth, justice, and really clean air—hosted ice cream parties for the winners’ entire classes.

The agency will display the first-place drawings this summer inside 25 buses traveling throughout the county. Recipients of second and third places received 34-inch x 17-inch poster printouts of their art and were also recognized at their schools.

About 80 first-grade students at Quil Ceda/Tulalip Elementary School on the Tulalip Reservation and 120 first- and third-grade students from St. Mary Magdalen School in Everett submitted drawings for the contest based on two themes: first grade, “Be your own superhero, help Oxy Gene fight pollution,” and third grade, “Community Transit; connecting people and places.”

In Los Angeles
Los Angeles Metro recently introduced a new series of tours, “Metro Art Moves_DTLA,” designed to increase public transit ridership through volunteer docent and artist-led experiences of the Metro system. The tours introduce riders to Metro’s collection of more than 300 artworks while presenting its services highlighting destinations served by rail and bus.

The new tours of art in downtown Los Angeles stations build on Metro’s existing docent-led tour model by adding artists to co-lead the tours. The docents lead discussions, offering facts about the artworks, and the artists prompt ways of engaging with the Metro system through contemplative exercises, such as speaking secret words into a special voice-activated artwork at Union Station.

In Cincinnati
Cincinnati Metro is partnering with ArtWorks, a Cincinnati nonprofit that employs and trains local youth and talent to create art and community impact, to turn 12 of the agency’s bus shelters into public art this summer.

Art with a literature theme will decorate shelters located near the ­Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. Metro and ArtWorks reached out to the community with a simple online survey of what books should be used as art inspiration.

Six ArtWorks youth apprentices from the greater Cincinnati area, ages 14-21, will work under the direction of project manager Ryan Little and teaching artist Brandon Parker to create art to be installed in the shelters later this summer.


Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Metro
"City of Dreams/River of History," artwork by Richard Wyatt in collaboration with May Sun, at Los Angeles Union Station.

Award-winning artwork by fourth-grader Julissa Sandoval now appears on a Fort Worth Transportation Authority bus.

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