Enlivening The Daily Commute: Chapel Hill Rolls Out a New Art Bus and Shelter Installations

July 21, 2022

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Chapel Hill’s Art + Transit program unveils nine new artistic bus shelters and a new art bus that celebrates LGBTQIA+ Pride. Led by Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture and Chapel Hill Transit, Art + Transit aims to bring more vibrancy to the daily commute by annually commissioning area artists to create art for transit infrastructure, like bus stops and buses. In Chapel Hill and Carrboro, over 30 bus shelters and three buses are now adorned with art that celebrate the people, the places, and the environment of the area. Read on to learn about the newest installations.


To celebrate Pride Month, the Art + Transit program staff worked with the Town of Chapel Hill’s LGBTQIA+ Employee Resource Group to commission a local artist to design a bus wrap that celebrates equality and increases visibility around Pride. Staff selected Durham artist Wutang McDougal’s concept for its inclusive design and untraditional color palette. “I love 80’s glam and I feel the pallet I chose will be interesting and eye catching. I also wanted to show representation of Pride in Black queerness, Trans community and Queer love,” says Wutang on the piece.


One of the nine artistic bus shelters installed also celebrates Pride, and uses a color palette inspired by the Progressive Pride flag and a concept based on intersectionality. Located at Carolina Apartments, Jane Cheek’s We Knew Intersectionality Was the Forward is whimsical and celebratory with overlapping colorful circles, blended colors, and gold outlines. “As a bisexual woman from the South, creating work that makes Queer Pride more visible and increases representation in our communities is important to me,” says Cheek.

A bus shelter covered in decorative vinyl with large colorful circles.


Some of the newly added artistic bus shelters include messages that celebrate community, like Mayanthi Jayawardena’s Home Is Where The Hill Is and Sara Roberts’ Blooms Over Chapel Hill, where historical photos of local buildings are incorporated into the design. In Antonio Alanis’ Sun, located at South Columbia Street and Mason Farm Road, a bold Latin-American-inspired graphic is used to inspire happiness, warmth, and optimism.

Other new shelters encourage exploration, like Sally Gregoire’s Barning Around in North Carolina, while others invite imagination, like Jesse White’s Hidden Worlds. “Each shape in Hidden Worlds represents a portal — a peek into another world. The colorful animals, trees, landscapes, and cityscapes form imagery that is somewhat familiar to us but with a hint of fantasy and nostalgia.” White’s piece, located at the intersection of Manning and Hibbard Drive, includes a short storybook narrative that hopes to pull transit users from their daily routine into an immersive experience.


East Chapel Hill High students will now be greeted with art at their local bus stop, thanks to the ECHHS Art Appreciation Club. After learning of the Art + Transit program, students from the club collaborated to design Growth Of Life, depicting the resilience of a tree even in some of the most unforgiving environments.

Other new shelters also honor the local environment: Unity Flight by Loren Pease illustrates large butterflies to represent today’s youth coming together to help the environment heal, and Carolina Flora by Taylor Bragg includes artistic renderings of natural flora in North Carolina’s ecosystem.


For more art, bus users are reminded to look up while riding. Last year, artistic vinyls from Luis Franco and Victoria Primicias were installed on the ceilings of several buses, and more are being added this fall.

As the Art + Transit program continues to grow, local artists can expect to see calls opening this fall and winter for future installations.

Learn More About Art + Transit