The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) awarded $4.1 million supporting projects across the nation through the NEA’s Our Town creative placemaking grant program. Creative Portland, the City of Portland’s designated nonprofit arts agency, is one of the recommended organizations for a matching grant of $25,000 to support Phase 1 of an initiative to design artistic bus shelters celebrating the City of Portland, Maine’s racially diverse communities, including immigrant and refugee populations.
Creative Portland and the Greater Portland Council of Governments (GPCOG) conceived the project in early 2017 and brought METRO (Greater Portland Transit District) on board soon thereafter. “Bus shelters are an ubiquitous but unnoticed part of our public transportation infrastructure,” said GPCOG Executive Director Kristina Egan. “This project elevates the shelters and transforms them into a wonderful canvas upon which to celebrate the diversity of our community.”
“We are incredibly excited to curate this public art initiative. Imagine a whole region of artistic and inviting bus shelters, created by emerging and established artists, who represent the high bar of excellence that Portland has to offer in the arts,” said Dinah Minot, Executive Director of Creative Portland.
Three regional artists have had their work selected by the curatorial team. One of the works selected is by USM Art Alum, Justin Levesque ‘10. Justin’s work will be installed on the USM Bedford Street bus shelter on the Portland Campus. Tentatively, the public unveiling will be 3;30-4:30 on Sept 10th.
The goal of the creative placemaking initiative is to encourage multi-modal transportation, to increase ridership, and to promote awareness and social acceptance through art installations that utilize bus shelters as the canvas for public art on the theme of celebrating diversity and inclusion.