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New Partnership Turns Bus Shelters into Art Stops

Milwaukee, WI - Some Milwaukee artists are getting a new canvas to work with it - MCTS bus shelters. The transit system is teaming up with a local art group to bring unique works of art out of the galleries and into the public space. The new art program kicked off Thursday, June 14th with the public unveiling of the first two bus art shelters. 

“Adding art to bus shelters is an amazing use of public space,” said Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele. “As a longtime supporter of the arts, I couldn’t be more excited about the potential of this program to inspire others, and add color and art to the community.”

The art shelter program is part of a unique partnership between MCTS and the Bus Art Project MKE, a new local effort to spread art across Milwaukee. Libby Olbrantz, the founder of the Bus Art Project MKE, collaborated with Flow Johnson of After Gallery to recruit local artists to create the designs. Together they raised money to print the art on vinyl clings that stick to the shelters.

Abele announced during the unveiling that he made a personal donation of $5,000 to the fundraising effort and he encouraged others to donate to the effort if they can.

“We are unifying our community by turning MCTS bus shelters into art. Local artists are unleashing their own hearts and souls to create designs to cover the bus shelters and give back to the city,” Oldrantz said.

Each artist is creating their art to tell a unique story.

Charity Ekpo’s “Raining on Your Parade” is displayed at the shelter at Kinnickinnic Avenue and Bay Street. “I wanted to participate in this project because I think it’s a great way to continue showing just how creative Milwaukee is. That we’re capable of taking something people maybe wouldn't normally consider exciting, and turning it into something fun and visually intriguing,” said Ekpo. “Art is a great way to express yourself. I hope these awesome designs will inspire others to want to channel their creative side, and make something amazing for themselves and/or others to see."

Artist CK Ledesma designed his piece “Cluster” with the bus shelter at North Avenue and Humboldt Boulevard in mind. “I’m thrilled to take part in the project because it intersects several interests of mine, community and art, as well as, representation through diversity. “Cluster” represents a gathering of faces with different colors, shapes, sizes and expressions; a vision of what our neighborhoods and communities can be through unity,” Ledesma said.

A number of local artists have already lined up to create more art to display on MCTS shelters in the future. To learn more visit RideMCTS.com/Art.