Muni art buses splash color onto city streets


One hundred Muni buses in San Francisco will get decked out with artwork from five Bay Area artists for a second year in row starting this week.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency in collaboration with San Francisco Beautiful, unveiled the winning five finalists for this year’s Muni Art 2017 on Wednesday at City Hall. The theme year was “San Francisco Neighborhoods.”

Last summer, 85 artists submitted artwork for the project. Out of the 85 submissions, 10 became finalists. The public was able to vote on on which of the 10 pieces of artwork would appear on Muni buses.

Monica Tiulescu, an employee of the San Francisco Unified School District, received the most public votes for the work titled “Teens of San Francisco.”

Last year, Tiulescu was a teacher at the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts. She created portents of all 16 of her students who will appear in Muni buses:

“I was so excited at the possibility of getting my students involved and having their beautiful portraits all over the San Francisco bus system.”

Tiulescu received a $2,000 check.

Supervisor London Breed said the Muni art project is about collaboration and bringing several organizations together to put the project together:

“A hundred buses here in the City and County of San Francisco will be displayed with some amazing artwork of our neighborhoods. How cool is that?”

Breed said the Muni art project was important for her because of her time as the director of the African American Art and Culture Complex. She said artists were able to paint on the walls and express themselves at the complex:

“It brought the community together and brought a smile to people’s faces. So when we see these buses drive by, a hundred buses with some amazing artwork of our community, it’s going to make a smile. It’s going to make people feel good.”

Darcy Brown, executive director of San Francisco Beautiful, said the Muni art project began as an idea in 2015:

“…As a way to turn a ride on a Muni bus into a beautiful experience.”

Other finalists received a $1,250 check.

Lillian Shanahan’s “Bit by Bit.” Shanahan used Perler beads to create different neighborhoods and highlighting different features from each neighborhood.

Luis Pinto’s “Las Historias de San Francisco” was created using vector illustrations of different storefronts around The City.

“City Walks” by Lisa Levine and Peter Tonningsen of Counterpoint Studio, LLC, is a series of images celebrating the diversity, landscape and character of San Francisco neighborhoods.

Todd Kurant’s work titled “Sight Seeing: San Francisco Edition” showcases wildlife over a San Francisco map such as having a sea lion over Fisherman’s Wharf.

The City’s Community Challenge Grant Program funded the Muni Art 2017 project. The artwork will appear on Muni buses through April.

Visit the San Francisco Beautiful website to learn more about the artwork.

The story has been updated with a link to the San Francisco Beautiful website and an Instagram post from the reporter.

Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn is the San Francisco Bureau Chief of SFBay and covers transportation and City Hall. He has spent a decade covering transportation in San Francisco. Jerold is a San Francisco native and frequently takes public transit everywhere he goes. Follow Jerold on Twitter @jerold_chinn. Email tips to

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