You might have spotted them cropping up around town: everyday bus benches that POP.
Passersby, typically expecting a mundane, run-of-the-mill ad on the backs of bus benches throughout Richmond will now be surprised and delighted to encounter new ones showcasing eclectic local art.
The unexpected, artistic delights are all thanks to local artists from Richmond’s NIAD Art Center, who were able to adorn 20 bus benches with art thanks to a $12,500 grant the nonprofit received from the California Arts Council.
NIAD, which per its website, “promotes meaningful independent living by artists with disabilities,” also received matching funds for the bus bench art project from the Zellerbach Family Foundation and other donors.
According to NIAD Executive Director Deb Dyer, artist Ellen Lake from the Kala Art Institute in Berkeley—who had completed a similar bus bench art project in Oakland—visited the center “four or five Mondays” last fall to help the participating artists create and prepare their artwork for the project.
Digital files of the artists’ work were then sent to Coast United Advertising, which transferred the art onto the bus bench-backs. As of Feb. 11, 2017, all 20 art-enlivened bus benches had been placed at a wide range of locations throughout Richmond, showcasing the work of six NIAD artists.
Dyer noted that the project was “fun for the artists,” all of whom hail from Richmond and nearby locales, and “fun for their work to be out in the public and for the public to see it.”
“It’s good for the community to see art made by artists living nearby,” Dyer added.
Dyer supplied For Richmond with a list of the NIAD artists participating in the project as well as the Richmond locations of the bus benches showcasing their particular art:
Maria Radilla: Tewksbury and Washington Street SW, Point Richmond; San Pablo and Clinton SE; and Garrard and Cutting SE.
Julio Del Rio: MacDonald and 21st NE; San Pablo and MacDonald NW; Cutting and Harbor Way NE; and Hilltop and Park Central SW.
Shantae Robinson: Cutting and 20th NW; Harnett and Carlson SE; and MacDonald and 21st SW.
Jonathan Velazquez: MacDonald and 21st SW; Cutting and 23rd NE; Harnett and Carlson SS; and Hilltop and Park Central NE.
Luis Estrada: Carlson and Cutting NE; Harnett and Cutting SS; and Cutting and San Pablo SW.
Matthew Wilson: Blume Dr. and Auto Plaza South NE; MacDonald and Curry SE; and Carlson and 37th SS.