It’s that time of year when Muni buses become rolling art exhibits, treating regular commuters and San Francisco visitors to something much more than just a ride.

The nonprofit group San Francisco Beautiful and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Thursday kicked off the 2020 Muni Art Project 2020, now in its fifth year. From now through April, 100 buses will display artwork that reflects some of the best creativity and beauty The City has to offer.

Five San Francisco artists are chosen through an annual contest to have their work installed on panels inside Muni buses. In 2018, the project incorporated poetry in a collaboration with the Poetry Society of America. Inspired by a different theme each year, five poems written by local poets are selected to be interpreted by the chosen artists.

This year’s theme is “Hidden Gems of San Francisco.”

Selected artists receive $1,000 stipend and are provided an eight-panel space to display their creations.

Aaron Levy-Wolins/SFBay New Muni art lines a bus outside City Hall in San Francisco, Calif., on Thursday, Jan 9, 2020. Poetry and art will be displayed on select Muni buses.

Sunset District artist Shannon Bodrogi said winning this year’s contest was a boost to her self-esteem. The Muni Art Project was her the first time she’d won an award for her artwork.

Bodrogi said:

“This really is giving me the confidence to pursue art wholeheartedly and apply for more, and just continue to get out there.”

Bodrogi’s series, titled “The Sunset Walks,” began with photos taken on Sunset District walks. The photos were then converted into art pieces made on fabric using photocopy lithography and embroidery.

Applauding this year’s theme, Supervisor Sandra Fewer said:

“While Muni buses and drivers navigate us physically in our daily commutes across the many hidden gems and destinations in this city, Muni art and artists have the power to transform us emotionally, to make connections with and to rediscover the many hidden gems that we treasure here in San Francisco.”

Describing how art and transit pair well, SFMTA Director of Transportation Jeff Tumlin said:

“Art elevates people and changes their perspective. Transit connects people. Art connects people. Art and transit are perfect partners.”

The public can find more information about this year’s winners and see their art creations on the San Francisco Beautiful website.

Muni Art 2020 is funded by AT&T, members of San Francisco Beautiful and UpCal Entertainment.

Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn is the San Francisco Bureau Chief of SFBay. A San Francisco native, he has spent a decade covering transportation in San Francisco. Send tips to jerold@sfbay.ca or at Twitter @Jerold_Chinn.

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