50th Anniversary Commemorative Art Bus in Service Today

Posted On Monday January 25, 2021

The 50th Anniversary installation of the latest City art bus is now complete, and it will be in service with Thunder Bay Transit starting today.

“The new art bus is a great tool for civic engagement, and another wonderful way to celebrate our 50th Anniversary year that just passed,” said Councillor Shelby Ch’ng, Chair – 50th Anniversary Committee.

“The COVID-19 pandemic impacted the majority of activities that were planned for 2020, but some events were tweaked to virtual settings and some had to be cancelled. Nonetheless, many 50th initiatives did happen, and the art bus is a beautiful example of capturing the spirit of Thunder Bay.”

A call to artists was released in January 2019, and submission and designs were vetted by the Public Art Committee, 50th Anniversary Committee, and Clean, Green & Beautiful Committee.

“We were please to take part in this project to help celebrate and commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the amalgamation of Fort William and Port Arthur,” said Councillor Rebecca Johnson, Chair – Clean, Green and Beautiful Committee. “The art bus will be the newest addition to the City's Public Art Collection.”

The project was awarded to local artist boy Roland, who is known for his playful work. The design's colourful and joyful theme has transformed a transit bus into an animated moving showcase of local art.

“For this design, I’ve taken a very playful approach, turning iconic imagery of Thunder Bay into cartoon figures going for an adventure,” said boy Roland, Artist. “Celebration makes me feel young and colourful. I feel it is important to represent our diverse community as Thunder Bay continues to heal, grow and achieve greatness. With their support, I’ve incorporated flags of the Fort William First Nation, LGBTQ+, and our cities own. It’s not a celebration if we’re not doing it together.”

In 2015, a City of Thunder Bay Transit bus was transformed into an animated, moving showcase of local art through funding from the Clean, Green & Beautiful Committee. The Art Bus reached the broadest audience to date in the history of the City’s Public Art Program, prompting new demographics to engage in conversations about creativity. This original Art Bus remained in service until August 2018 when the wrap material reached the end of its life and was uninstalled.

The success of this original project prompted Councillor Foulds to propose to Council that two further Art Bus projects be developed. With support from the Public Art Committee, the artwork for this first bus was commissioned and installed, and has the theme of ‘Thunder Bay’.

“This project is important because it allows everyone access to art, it enriches our physical environment, brings streetscapes, buildings and in this case a public transit bus to life,” said Louisa Costanzo, Supervisor, Cultural Development & Events. “The theme is One City. Fifty Years. and aims to showcase the history of Thunder Bay through people, success stories, culture, heritage and diversity.”

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Contact:       Stacey Levanen, Supervisor – Corporate Communications, 625-3650

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