Bunnies on a bus? Yes, and more

Bunnies on a bus? Yes, and more-attachment0

Bunnies in a boat. A multi-colored forest. Big orange carrots. No, these aren’t hallucinations — they’re real manifestations of artists’ work, coming to an Asheville city bus near you.

The city’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department recently announced that three local artists have been chosen to have their artwork appear on buses as part of the city’s first-ever “Art on Transit” bus art competition. Each artist will be awarded a $750 honorarium and their designs will grace the sides of a big bus.

The winners were Ray Noland’s “Jeweled Forest, a color-splashed, whimsical forest; Naomi Johnson’s photos of local food and farmers; and Nina Ruffini’s “Message” featuring bunnies adrift in boats.

A five-member jury, which included a bus driver, met in January and surveyed more than 60 submittals. The jury picked six finalists and suggested the three winners, which were unanimously confirmed by the city’s Public Art Board.

“The jury did a wonderful job and was thoughtful about each piece submitted,” said Diane Ruggerio, the city’s superintendent of cultural arts.

Asheville City Councilman Gordon Smith, who attended a recent Public Art Board meeting to check out the winning pieces and who has pushed the use of public transit, said, “Great choices. I’m really excited about seeing them up and live.”

Will the art help boost bus ridership? It may, but that really wasn’t the point, according to Ruggerio.

“This was a public art project. We felt it was an innovative way to get public art out there, and for us to work with two-dimensional artists like photographers, painters and illustrators,” she said. “It’s really been a big collaboration.”

The city is contracting with a company to create “wraps” for three buses, at a cost of about $10,000. The arty buses should be on the streets by the first week of March, and will remain on display for at least four months, Ruggerio said.

The colorful buses will be seen all around Asheville because city buses aren’t assigned to specific routes. Ruggerio said she hopes that “Art on Transit” becomes an annual project.

— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor

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40 thoughts on “Bunnies on a bus? Yes, and more

  1. Asheville Dweller

    Another great waste of tax dollars our grand city strikes again.

  2. Mysterylogger

    Wonderful argument there, nice comeback.

    It is a waste of Tax Dollars, but its ok, its not like the council is spending their money. Its almost as effective as just taking the money and setting it on fire in front of city hall.

    All this does is make the buses colorful, our tax dollars at work, who needs to address problems in the city when you can just paint lame rabbits on a bus.

  3. Asheville Native

    I agree that it is a waste of money. Those buses don’t even run long enough or to enough places to be effective. If Asheville Arts people want more for their community they should be putting that money to better transportation period, not making it look pretty. As an artist it sounds nice but as a commuter it is very frustrating to imagine having art work put on buses that barley help the Asheville community anyway. Why isn’t that money going to buying a new bus, putting in a new route or paying an extra person to drive a little later at night????? To me this IS a waste of money. We need more public transportation not artwork a 2nd grade class can do.

  4. Asheville Dweller

    $10,000 for 4 months . . wow that money could be used else where in a better capacity, but anything to try to look unique huh?

    Again great waste of tax money.

  5. Betty Cloer Wallace

    I don’t know if the cost for this artwork is reasonable, but I’m looking forward to the colorful busses. They clearly represent the spirit and beauty of Asheville. Bring on the bunnies!

  6. Piffy!

    [b]Wonderful argument there, nice comeback.[/b]

    Nice comeback to what? AshevilleDillard’s poorly-constructed, content-less whine?

    If you’re going to criticize the program, at least give some specifics as to how you think the money should have been spent, etc. Considering Asheville’s entire economy is that of Tourism, i think i can see the logic in makign the city more presentable.

    Is it possibly frivolous? Yep. Is there anything that isn’t frivolous about a tourist economy? Nope. I think you people are just scared of pretty pictures.

  7. Asheville Dweller

    Scared of bunnies on a bus, you make no sense as usual. It is a waste of tax money that money could be used else where, we are talking abou $10,000 to paint some buses.

    Tourism is all I hear, well sad news for Asheville Tourism isnt paying the bills anymore, people are broke, and our cruddy economy isnt going to support tourim much this summer. So why paint pictures on a bus, when you can use that money and more importantly money we dont have to make some in this town feel good.

    This is the same Frivolous spending that Asheville always does, we have problems that will not get fixed with pictures of bunnies or any other lame artwork that we spend thousands of dollars on.

    Problems include an inefective bus routes, poor sidewalks, A city council way over budget and doesnt really care, One of the main problems is the city is out of money and yet they keep spending like we have tons of it, When the tourists don’t show up they still won’t learn.

    Asheville needs to put its people first and Tourism second at the moment, and to spend $10,000 for a few months is just sad.

  8. john

    Personally I agree that it is a waste of money. With the amount of poverty and unemployment we have here in Asheville it seems like any amount of extra cash should go to that. Making an ugly bus seem artsy is quite wasteful and distracting to other drivers on the road.

  9. YO

    Bunnies on a bus
    Pants on the ground
    Ya lookin’ like a fool
    Throwing ya money around!!

    Wish they’d fix the potholes
    Wish they’d clean the park
    This just stirs up mo’ problems
    while we sit in the dark!!

  10. @ashevillebus

    While it’s tempting to imagine taxpayers’ dollars being shoveled into one giant trough from which the city can help itself at will, that’s not the way funding works. The money for this project belonged to Parks & Rec, which means it never could have been used to buy buses or build shelters or pay driver salaries.

    The bus wrapping represents a terrific (and aesthetically-pleasing) collaboration between two city departments and their respective advisory boards. That’s a development almost as exciting as beans and bunnies on our buses.

    Thanks to everyone who’s supported this project; we’ll see you at the opening reception next month!

  11. Well it has put money into the pockets of local artists – and it is helping a regional company who is putting the wraps on the bus. Not to mention it will increase bus ridership and ridership morale which may help free up parking downtown as well as reduce overall carbon emissions for our city – so I see it as doing a lot of good for our community.

  12. Asheville Dweller

    Lol Ridership morale, really??? Seriously??? Why dont you tell that to the people waiting on the bus in the cold weather . .

    “Wow its cold but you know the bus is late but its ok it has bunnies on it”

    Or people that lost their car are happy because the bus has bunnies on it, get real, some people just don’t live in the real world.

    Bus Rider morale . . . that is a hoot.

    In the finacial times we are in at the moment why are we still funding Art when it doesnt pay the bills? If an artist can’t make it on their own why are the tax payers forced to support them, if you dont make money at one job might want to rethink your career.

    And if this money came from parks and rec, then have they spent their allotted money for the year or when something breaks in a couple of months will they be begging for more money??

  13. Piffy!

    [b]distracting to other drivers on the road. [/b]

    I’d like to vote this most reaching argument ever.

  14. Piffy!

    i suppose “Asheville Dweller” and other malcontents would prefer the buses be a nice, dull communist grey. No free-thought! No pretty colors!

  15. kneeknaheart

    Apparantly being an artist is working out for some people because they are getting paid to do projects in the city. Speaking of jobs, artists are taxpayers too. You dwell in Asheville? Seems like you’d understand living in a city that was founded by a rich family and all the artists they brought in to create things for them.

    I wonder what you’ve done for this city and it’s economy that the hundreds of Asheville Artists and their collectors have not.

    Have you ever ridden the bus or do you get around solely on your high horse??

  16. kneeknaheart

    Apparantly being an artist is working out for some people because they are getting paid to do projects in the city. Speaking of jobs, artists are taxpayers too. You dwell in Asheville? Seems like you’d understand living in a city that was founded by a rich family and all the artists they brought in to create things for them.

    I wonder what you’ve done for this city and it’s economy that the hundreds of Asheville Artists and their collectors have not.

    Have you ever ridden the bus or do you get around solely on your high horse??

  17. Asheville Dweller

    If the buses run they are doing their job perfectly without pretty colors of rabbits. So should we go and paint a mural on all the city trucks? Or How about a Mural on all the red dull fire engines in town??

    Change your name everyweek you just don’t have an argument or leg to stand on, so out comes the pettiness, it was a matter of time.

    Ive lived IN ASHEVILLE my entire life, born here bred here, and I will die here, I have used the bus most of my life. I have done plenty for this city I am active in my community, and help out when I can and if I can, and no I don’t ride a high horse I just live in the real world where there are real problems like; lack of decent jobs, horrible side walks, Infrastructure that is lacking in Asheville, and a city council that can’t stop spending on uneeded items to lure tourists.

    The Problem with the “Artists” in Asheville is that they are so many that claim to be an Artist when in reality they have no Artistic ability but ride the coat tails of of those that actually have talent.

  18. Curious

    Can someone explain why opposite sex domestic partners (unmarried man and woman living together in a committed relationship) ARE being excluded? When an employee adds his/her family to his/her health coverage, don’t their premiums/contributions go up? Surely the city doesn’t fund the entire cost of family coverage? Too many questions the news reports are not covering.

  19. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Kneeknaheart wrote: Seems like you’d understand living in a city that was founded by a rich family and all the artists they brought in to create things for them.

    I do SO AGREE with your sentiments about the artwork on the city busses, but your statement is a bit incorrect regarding the beginnings of Asheville. Asheville was Cherokee territory long before the Vanderbilts arrived and created Biltmore–centuries before, in fact.

    You are correct, though, in saying that the Vanderbilts (and now the Cecils) have brought numerous artists of numerous persuasions to Asheville, and they have created numerous creative industries during the last century; but even more so, in regard to heritage, the British Isles settlers who came here (mostly Scottish and Irish with a smattering of Welsh and German) brought a love of beauty to accompany their hard everyday work: colorful quilts, firewood stacked just so, evenly-spaced plow rows, colorful clothing, lively music, potent grain whisky, and food that sticks to your ribs regardless of how tough the times.

    All that heritage of creativity is what Asheville is all about–then and now–and the city bus artwork is just the latest example.

    ‘Tis a beautiful thing to celebrate.

  20. Piffy!

    [b]Have you ever ridden the bus or do you get around solely on your high horse?? [/b]

    I think he rides a DUI scooter.

  21. Jim Shura

    Many illegal immigrants and other dangerous criminals ride scooters because scooters don’t require drivers licenses.

    I just do my part and run them over on dark nights.

    (invokes sarcasm tag shortly after being eaten)

  22. So now the illegal immigrants and other dangerous criminals can just ride the bus – and have warm fuzzy bunnies while doing so!

  23. Jim Shura

    I, for one, welcome any transportation-challenged warm fuzzy bunnies onto my scooter.

  24. Just Me

    The $750 each to support a few local artists is a pretty reasonable expense to pretty up the buses and support local economy & culture at the same time.

    It is the $10,000 contract with a company that seems out of line when the cost of providing bus services is a priority, or should be.

    Is that $10,000 for all three buses or $10,000 each? Is it a local company?

    So the $1,500 for the artists is more or less PR funding to foster good feelings in the community on one hand, while on the other they continue to do mediocore business management as usual.

  25. and such is how government continues to grow, while Americans continue to be taxed into oblivion.

    where could the $10,000 have been spent otherwise? how about don’t spend it and give it back to the local taxpayer who has been getting the short end of the stick for a very long time here, in an area that is most beautiful, but severely lacking in the area of cost of living vs. pay rate ratio.

    how many other extraneous $10,000 per year programs are we local taxpayers funding? why not cut back on the size and scope of government and its spending?

    this is yet one more example of government waste and general economic irresponsibility.

    this is why more and more Americans continue to protest, although media and career politicos would have the masses believe otherwise.

    this will continue until either the false monetary system collapses (unavoidable on our present course), or there is a mass American tax strike in accordance with the right to Petition for Redress of Grievances, according to the “Accountability Clause” in the First Amendment… basically: no remedy, no taxes.

    such is a peaceful means, designed into our system of law, by which free people may resist a runaway unlimited government.

  26. Piffy!

    [b]how about don’t spend it and give it back to the local taxpayer who has been getting the short end of the stick for a very long time here, in an area that is most beautiful, but severely lacking in the area of cost of living vs. pay rate ratio.[/b]

    ah, yes, vague platitudes. That 34 cents per tax payer sure would come in handy!

  27. NC Arts

    34 cents? You’d be lucky if it was that much. I’m guessing it’d be more like 6-8 cents per tax-payer.

  28. Piffy!

    We must be against tyranny!

    Tyranny and taxes!

    And bunnies!

    Tyranny, taxes, and bunnies!

    Which we are against!

  29. Piffy!

    [b]It is the $10,000 contract with a company that seems out of line when the cost of providing bus services is a priority, or should be.[/b]

    And you are basing this outrage on your vast knowledge of the cost of wrapping large vehicles?

    [b]Is that $10,000 for all three buses or $10,000 each[/b]

    I think the article has already answered that question. It would appear that is the total cost, not per bus. Not that careful examination of the facts appears to be your strong suit.

    Really, you people have no sense of scale for your faux-outrage.

  30. Just Me

    I’m not outraged. I read the article. Just wanted to clarify. Accountants are weird that way. Weird, but not outraged. And certainly not taking it personally and insulting people I don’t even know.

  31. Just Me

    Even though it is not “outrage” (relly, how silly), I will concede that my sense of scale is probably out of proportion for governmental budgets. I am used to working with a small non-profit budget of $1.5 mil, so yes, $10,000 spent on neither support-admin or the core services themselves does seem high, to me.

  32. Piffy!

    I think @$10,000 to wrap three city buses was a pretty good deal. Feel free to call around and get some estimates, you’ll find those rates quite average, if not better than.

    Now, if they could just make bus routes and times more practical and functional .

    [b]Even though it is not “outrage”[/b]

    That’s why I called it faux-outrage.

  33. Piffy!

    Honestly, even if they paid 10,000 a bus, they got a good deal.

  34. Just Me

    @ pff ??

    Well, alright then. It is pretty clear that I was not comparing graphics costs in my posts, but questioning the budget allocation.

    Perhaps you have confused me with someone else, or some of the other posters on this thread.

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