Roanoke’s “Art By Bus” Combines Arts and Public Transit

0
Art by Bus organizers standing before "Looking Over the Valley" by Bill White. Left to Right: RIDE Solutions Program Director Jeremy Holmes; Writer by Bus Melanie Almeder; Roanoke Arts Commission Director Susan Jennings; Roanoke City Councilman Dr. David Trinkle; Valley Metro Assistant General Manager Kevin Price.
Art by Bus organizers standing before "Looking Over the Valley" by Bill White.  Left to Right: RIDE Solutions Program Director Jeremy Holmes; Writer by Bus Melanie Almeder; Roanoke Arts Commission Director Susan Jennings; Roanoke City Councilman Dr. David Trinkle; Valley Metro Assistant General Manager Kevin Price.
Art by Bus organizers standing before “Looking Over the Valley” by Bill White. Left to Right: RIDE Solutions Program Director Jeremy Holmes; Writer by Bus Melanie Almeder; Roanoke Arts Commission Director Susan Jennings; Roanoke City Councilman Dr. David Trinkle; Valley Metro Assistant General Manager Kevin Price.

2nd Annual Art by Bus Program will Include new Transit Residency Program for Local Writer along with Art and Music

 This spring, buses in the Roanoke Valley will carry more than passengers: they will also carry art, literature, and music.  The effort, called Art by Bus, is a collaboration between RIDE Solutions, the region’s commuter services program; the City of Roanoke Arts Commission; and the Greater Roanoke Valley Transit Company, which operates Valley Metro, the Star Line Trolley, and the Smart Way bus services.

One element of the program is to display selected works on the outside of four Valley Metro buses.   “Our goal is to bring more awareness to the fact that the city has a regional art collection and to encourage people to explore the work within city buildings by literally taking it out into all parts of the city,” said Roanoke City Council member David Trinkle.  Though this is the second Art by Bus organized by RIDE Solutions, this is the first time the city has displayed art from its own collection.

The Roanoke Arts Commission chose four works of art from its collection of 125 works, 92 of which are by artists currently or previously living in the region.  The works are:  Looking Over the Valley by Bill White of Fincastle, Virginia; Ten Speed by Charles Goolsby of Emory and Henry; Meander by Marcia McDade of Cedar Grove, North Carolina; and Remembering Aunt Virginia in a Big Way by Antoinette Hale of Roanoke, Virginia.

A second element of the effort is a new Transit Residency program.  Melanie Almeder, a professor at Roanoke College, was selected through a competitive process by a panel of arts commission and community members.  She will ride various buses throughout March and April to produce literary works about her experiences, the people she meets, and the neighborhoods she travels through.  Some of her work will be shared via social media on the RIDE Solutions Facebook page, with the full body of work to be shared at the end of the project.

Finally, RIDE Solutions will work with local musicians to sponsor a series of short concerts on the Star Line Trolley throughout the Art by Bus period.  The performances, covering a wide variety of styles, will not be announced ahead of time.  RIDE Solutions Program Director Jeremy Holmes says this is intentional.  “We want people to know that if they don’t take the bus, they might be missing something great.”

Kevin Price, Assistant General Manager of The Greater Roanoke Transit Company, praised the cooperative effort.  “We’re excited for the opportunity to work once again with the City of Roanoke’s Arts Commission and RIDE Solutions to participate in Art by Bus, to show off the important role public transit plays in our community by bringing our cultural heritage directly to our streets.  We also hope that by showing off our buses in this way, we will remind those who have never taken the opportunity to ride the bus to learn just how easy it is to get on Valley Metro.”

More information on Art by Bus and the participating artists can be found at ridesolutions.org/artbybus.