Since it launched last spring the Milwaukee County Transit System’s Bus Shelter Art Project has proved popular and there are now nine artworks installed on bus shelters in Bay View, Riverwest, Walker’s Point and South Milwaukee.
The program has just expanded to include two works on Downtown shelters, too.
(PHOTO: Milwaukee County Transit System)
With a $1,000 grant from Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21 – an amount matched by Bus Art Project MKE, founded by Libby Olbrantz – exclusive works were added to shelters at Water Street and Wisconsin Avenue and a block north on Water and Mason Streets.
At Wisconsin Avenue, Dominic Inouye of ZIP MKE installed a photo collage that highlights the city’s diversity, bearing the words: "27 ZIP Codes, 1 City."
Meanwhile, near Mason Street, the shelter has a quartet of kaleidoscopic panels created by Tzeng Lee (whose name lacks an "e" on the installation), called "The Collide."
These look pretty great from the street, but I admit a bit of disappointment that, at least in the case of "The Collide," bus riders making use of the shelter only get a monochromatic look at the work.
"MCTS gives more than 15 million rides per year in the greater downtown area alone," said Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, who helped get the project started with an initial $5,000 personal donation.
"As a longtime supporter of the arts, I couldn’t be more excited that so many additional commuters, pedestrians and residents will now get to enjoy and be inspired by the work of local artists."
More works are planned for installation next year. You can see all the current works at the project web site.
"This program is a great way to activate existing bus shelters as engaging ‘third spaces,’" said Beth Weirick, CEO of Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21. "We’re thrilled to help bring these temporary art galleries to life in the heart of Downtown."
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.