Local artists who were named winners by the MetroScapes program created by Metro Arts In Transit will be installed at more than 200 MetroBus shelters in the St. Louis region
By Charlotte Beard
Since 2013, riders of public transportation have had the opportunity to view artwork that was created by members of the visual arts community. This opportunity is made possible by a program called MetroScapes created by Metro Arts In Transit (AIT). This year there were 10 winners in the program among 175 art submissions, and they ranged from fourth/fifth grade artists to a retiree.
It is stated that this year’s winning artists are the most diverse group since the program began. All except four participants are from the St. Louis region. Samuel Avery’s “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop” piece features a vivid Koi fish, which is known for swimming upstream against all odds, including being known to swim up waterfalls. It celebrates the resiliency of the Koi.
Noah Ennis’ “Sandy Shores” work creates a sense of movement by incorporating certain color combinations. The high school senior from Union, Missouri just began to paint in March 2018.
Rachel Linn’s drawing entitled “Hand” is dedicated to the role our hands have in everyday life, especially art. It is her first piece in an art show.
This year is Barnhart, Missouri native Joyce McClain’s second time being a MetroScapes winner. Her “Ducklings” piece is a replication of a photograph.
The “Happy Party Hamster” artwork made Rosa Nevarez another one of the two-time winners. Erik Thompson of Wildwood entered a piece that is part of a series. His “Letter Bending 1” explores the art of text.
One of the youngest contributing winners in the program was Jefferson Elementary School fifth grader Tyler Carlis. North County’s Carlis did a portrait of the famously known Maya Angelou. Eliyah Grimes-Jackson, who is currently nine years old, created her “Cakes” artwork when she was in the second grade.
“I was surprised,” stated Grimes-Jackson about her winning. “Like ‘oh my goodness I have made it this far…to the top! I was excited, I was happy, I was proud of myself. I love to draw and paint.”
Grimes-Jackson, who also attends Jefferson Elementary School, shared that her inspiration for art comes from things she may encounter on television, such as a cartoon, other show or movie. She desires to be a famous artist when she grows up.
Tim Judge, an engineer retiree of Washington, Missouri, is an example of how some passions never die, as exemplified with his “Sunflowers.” He came across the MetroScapes project while doing an internet search on calls for art submissions.
“In the background I was drawing and painting,” stated Judge, “but I didn’t spend a lot of time (doing it) until I retired about three years ago. I had a little bit of talent when I was younger and that’s what kept me going. I’ve just always loved art.”
“I used to ride the transportation system a lot,” stated Ballwin winner Jessica “Jesi” Fox. “So, I’ve sat at a lot of MetroBus stops and ridden the MetroLink. I think it’s awesome to have art from a lot of different people to inspire riders.”
Fox’s winning submission is “Organized Chaos.”
On Nov. 16, the winning artwork was made available for public viewing along with meeting the artists at a free exhibition and reception at Third Degree Glass Factory located at 5200 Delmar Blvd. The artwork will be installed at more than 200 MetroBus shelters in the St. Louis region and remain on display for a year.
Funding for placement of the artwork is supported by the Regional Arts Commission. Shelter locations for placements of the artwork is not decided by Metro Transit. Placement will be determined by Direct Media’s advertising professionals.
David Allen, Director of Metro Arts in Transit and one of the three jurors on a panel of artists and professionals shared how the MetroScapes program originated due to Metro Transit’s inability to place advertisement at transit shelters.
“We had bus shelters with extra space, so we just thought to do some artwork that would go (in the shelters). Upon thinking about it, this was the opportunity to do a competition, and provide some prize money, attracting a lot more interest in the project and a lot of more potential images. It grew over the years and became pretty popular in the visual artist community here regionally.”
Allen shared that MetroScapes announces the acceptance of submissions in July of each year via artsintransit.org and normally keeps it open for six weeks to two months.
“We are hopeful that our riders will be engaged in the experience of seeing these images. We also include an artist statement on these posters that give a little bit of context to the viewer as to what they are looking at and why. We are hopeful that we’re elevating the experience of taking public transportation.”
Judge stated, “I just want people to stop and smell the coffee. A poster is just a snapshot of what’s out there. I am kind of a realist for what I paint.”
Judge went on to explain that with his painting he wants people to take time to look at the sunflowers and enjoy the experience of thinking about what they are viewing.
The 24×30 posters are available for sale online. For more information about MetroScapes, and to view this year’s winners and selected artwork, visit artsintransit.org.