The newest bus in Kingston Transit’s fleet has just become a unique work of art.
The ceiling of Bus 1951 showcases the newly installed artwork of 28 students in the Limestone District School Board’s Creative Arts Focus Program.
In a style reminiscent of individual postcards, each piece of student art depicts a site or event throughout the city, from Confederation Basin to the airport, Loyalist Collegiate to the Skeleton Park Arts Festival.
So, while Bus 1951 will be moving throughout the city, the artwork will be able to be seen by a wide variety of the community and tourists.
“It’s amazing for (the students) to be able to see their art come to life and jump from the page into the bus,” Jeremy DaCosta, director of Kingston Transit, said. “This is one of the newest buses in our fleet and it will be in service between 12 and 15 years and we expect the artwork that’s been installed here to hopefully last the life of the bus. Passengers for 12 to 15 years are really going to enjoy the artwork the students from this year have created.”
Most of the students were surprised to hear that their work could last the life of the bus.
“It made me really happy to see that people would see and enjoy my art for 12 years and not just have it be seen offhand once or twice,” Olivia DaSilva, a Grade 12 student and artist of Confederation Basin scene, said.
For international student Monica Melendez, a Grade 10 student from Spain, the idea that she could return and show her work to her friends and family was really cool.
“It was quite amazing because last year I was in my country and I wouldn’t have expected to be here and doing something such as this,” Melendez, whose piece is of the Norman Rogers Airport, said. “Now I can come again and I have 10 to 12 years to come and show everyone my work.”
The students got their first look at the bus on Thursday morning, outside Loyalist Collegiate.
“I was really happy and surprised (to see my work in the bus) because I never thought that I’d have any artwork on a bus or for the city or anything,” DaSilva said. “This was a really great experience.”
“I didn’t expect, coming into this program, that I’d have something on public display for everyone,” Hal Vice Henderson, a Grade 12 student and the artist of the HARS Kingston scene, said. “The quality (of the installation) is really good, very glossy, which I didn’t expect.”
“It feels kinda weird, but I’m happy with it,” Keegan Harrett, a Grade 12 student and the artist of the Loyalist Collegiate scene, said. “I think it’s cool that people from all over the city will be able to see it and see it along with other people’s art as well. In a way, it’s different parts of Kingston but it’s also different artists and how they approach issues in the same project.”
At the moment, only 23 of the 28 pieces are on the bus, with five scenes still to be installed.
“It was fun creating the art because I wanted to make something lasting,” Eddie Calnan, a Grade 12 student, said. “The building that I chose to depict was the (Wolfe Island) ferry terminal that’s going to be torn down in the next couple of years, and that’s kinda sad for me, living on the island and going to that terminal every day. It actually didn’t get put on the bus yet, but I hope that it does and then it’ll last a couple more years than it would have.”
The ongoing collaboration between the local art program and Kingston Transit has seen students’ art grace the cover of the riders guide, on posters promoting the free student transit pass program, on the wraps on the outside of a number of buses and in shelters throughout the city.
“It’s been all about doing something different and unique and creative year to year,” DaCosta said. “It was about working with Karen (Peperkorn) and her class to figure out what type of artwork they wanted to do and the best spot to have that showcased. I’m always impressed with the quality of the artwork that these young people create. If you look at the pieces, they look so realistic, and the different styles they’ve created, it’s professional artwork and we’re so proud at Kingston Transit to be able to display it on their behalf.”