Bus shelters across Takoma Park are brighter now with large posters featuring a diverse range of artwork by regional artists in a project that transforms public transportation with public art.
Several bimonthly art exhibitions at the Takoma Park Community Center have been delayed since the Community Center closed last year due to coronavirus restrictions. The City of Takoma Park wanted to share some of that artwork now so local residents and visitors could enjoy it, Arts and Humanities Division Coordinator Brendan Smith said.
“Riding the bus is a great form of public transportation, and local bus shelters are small art galleries now that can brighten people’s day with a fun and healthy dose of art,” Smith said.
Smith worked with graphic designer Charlotte Mann Lee to design seven different posters featuring 14 artists in the Art on the Move series. Four posters include work by individual artists, while three posters focus on groups of artists in upcoming exhibitions of figurative art and abstract art, as well as an exhibition highlighting four Black female artists.
The posters are located in bus shelters across Takoma Park, primarily on Maple Avenue between Philadelphia Avenue and Sligo Creek Parkway and New Hampshire Avenue between Eastern Avenue and University Boulevard.
The featured artists are excited to share their work with the public in an unusual venue that takes art out of museums and directly to people where they live and work. The artists’ names and websites are included on the posters to support their businesses.
Local resident Julius Kassovic (photojulius.com) has photographed nature along Sligo Creek for 15 years, creating rich, textural images through reflections in the shallow water. He said he looks a little crazy with a tripod and collapsible stool belted to his waist and two cameras slung around his neck.
“This project is a fantastic opportunity to help people feel good about being in a bus shelter where they can see something beautiful and thought-provoking,” he said. “It’s also a great opportunity to promote community pride. Bravo to the Arts and Humanities Division for organizing it.”
Samantha Viotty (viottycollection.com) paints portraits of famous Black artists in an homage to them. “A bus shelter with artwork transforms a place of waiting and impatience to provide a few moments of escapism,” she said. “Art often feels so removed from the spaces that we occupy. The bus shelters ground the medium in a different way.”
Shana Kohnstamm (shanakohnstamm.com) crafts beautiful felt sculptures which can’t be displayed outdoors so the posters are an ideal way to reach the public.
“It provides instant accessibility to my work and hopefully a nice surprise for those who are out and about,” she said. “If there is any one lesson from this past year, it’s that art in all its forms is essential to our wellbeing. It enriches our human experience. The posters are a brilliant method of outreach, and I’m so pleased to be a part of this project.”
The posters will be on display for three months, and a map of the bus shelter locations is available here. In addition to the artists mentioned above, the posters feature work by Debra Ambush, Stephanie Firestone, Michelle Frazier, Deborah Grayson, Sarah Louise Hyde, Michael Hyman, Frederik Langhendries, Craig Moran, Doug Schulte, Michael G. Stewart, and G. Jackson Tanner.