BY SUSIE CURRIE — Buses are a common sight in Hyattsville, as in any metropolitan area. By late fall, though, three of them that run along one of the city’s main roads should be a bit more distinctive.
Currently, the buses bear the familiar yellow, blue and white logo of The Bus, part of the Prince George’s County transit system, as well as their line number: 17. They circulate exclusively on the Route 1 corridor, with 75 stops from the College Park IKEA to the Mount Rainier traffic circle.
But soon, the vehicles will be wrapped in artwork that reflects their surroundings – and you can help choose it by voting for your favorite of three designs at www.Route1Ride.org.
The contest, sponsored by the Route 1 Ride Collaborative, started July 24 and runs through September 9. It garnered 350 votes the first week.
Earlier this year, a call to artists within 50 miles of the Route 1 corridor resulted in 38 entries from 27 artists. A panel of county, municipal and University of Maryland officials whittled the list down to three finalists, which were announced on July 24.
Jennifer Axner, Matthew Gifford and Boshwell Talavera each received a $500 honorarium; the winner will be awarded an additional $4,000.
Axner’s design, featuring a giant tube of paint, pays homage to burgeoning creative community in the Gateway Arts District.
Talavera opted for a photomosaic, with hundreds of small pictures making up the Maryland state flag and the slogan “Everything in 1 Place.”
Gifford chose different scenes for each side of the bus. One side resembles an iTunes ad, with a vibrant palette of purples, oranges and blues depicting a woman wearing headphones that incorporate one wheel. The design on the other side includes a riverside sunset, a nod to ECO City Farms in nearby Edmonston, where Gifford is putting the finishing touches on a 50-foot mural along the banks of the Northwest Branch.
The winning design will be featured on the three buses for at least three years.
Currently, the three buses run Monday through Friday from 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. For schedule information, visit the Rider Tools tab on Route1Ride.org. The fare is $1 for most adults, but free for several segments of the population, including those under 5 or over 60; students in kindergarten through high school; and University of Maryland students, staff and faculty with a valid ID.
All images courtesy Route 1 Ride Collaborative.