The 10 local artists selected through the 2018 MetroScapes program to have their winning artwork showcased on the Metro Transit system for a year couldn’t be more different, but they share one thing in common: excitement that their creations will be viewed by thousands of people and a desire that those individuals will be moved by what they see. A program of Metro Arts in Transit, MetroScapes is now in its 4th year, and this year’s winning artists are the most diverse group since the program began. Chosen from a pool of 175 submissions, the winners range from a 4th and 5th grader from Jefferson Elementary School in North St. Louis, to a high school senior from Union, Mo., a retiree from Washington, Mo., and six others whose experience as artists range from less than one year to decades.
This past Friday, the public had a chance to view the winning artwork and meet the artists at a free public exhibition and reception at Third Degree Glass Factory as part of their Third Friday’s event series. The event drew more than 400 attendees over the course of the evening, who got to preview the artwork that will soon be installed at more than 200 MetroBus shelters in the St. Louis region and remain on display for a year.
David Allen, Director of Metro Arts in Transit and one of the jurors on a panel of artists and art professionals that selected the 10 winners, noted that he really loves the variety among the 10 pieces ultimately selected this year after a diligent review process.
“I look for work that is thought provoking and somewhat unusual. I try to put myself in the role of a transit rider, sitting in a shelter and thinking ‘What would I like to see?,’” said Allen. “The program continually brings surprise to the transit system.”
Those surprises come in many forms this year, starting with Cakes, created by Eliyah Grimes-Jackson, a 4th grader at Jefferson Elementary School who has been drawing since she was just one-year old. When asked where she got the inspiration for her colorful artwork that makes viewers hungry for a little something sweet, she said it came from a book her art teacher told the class to look through, and she came upon one of cakes. “I was like, ooh, I should do this, because almost everybody in the world likes cakes,” said Grimes-Jackson.
Her teacher, Theresa Hopkins, submitted that piece for this year’s contest, along with 11 other images created by students from her art academy, and one of her own. She was thrilled to learn that Maya Angelou, a vibrantly colored portrait of the American poet, singer and civil rights activist created by 5th grader Tyler Carlis, had also been selected.
“I’m really proud of them. For them to win something this huge, in an adult competition, that’s what’s going to hook them. You can’t tell them they are not artists,” said Hopkins. As for what she wants them to get out of this experience, Hopkins added she hopes it’s the hunger to not ever let it go.
Commenting on her winning piece, 10-year old Carlis said it was her favorite painting because she did it all by herself. Asked what she thought of the fact that It would be on display on the Metro system, Carlis added, “It’s good, because other people can see it.”
Organized Chaos, a dynamic piece that started with a spontaneous swirl by Jessica “Jesi” Fox, of Ballwin, Mo., was another winning selection in this year’s program. “It’s a huge deal for me,” said Fox. “I used to ride the transportation system a lot. So, I’ve sat at a lot of MetroBus stops and ridden the MetroLink. I think it’s awesome to have art from a lot of different people to inspire riders.”
Among the other 2018 winners who will be inspiring riders over the next year are:
“This year’s winners truly represent some of the very best work the St. Louis region has to offer,” Allen said. “We are excited to showcase them as we transform bus shelters across the St. Louis region into mini art galleries the entire community can enjoy.”
For more information about MetroScapes, and to view this year’s winners and selected artwork from previous MetroScapes, visit artsintransit.org. MetroScapes is supported by funding from the Regional Arts Commission
About Metro Transit
Metro Transit operates the St. Louis region’s public transportation system which includes 400 clean-burning diesel buses that serve 83 MetroBus routes in eastern Missouri and southwestern Illinois. Metro also operates MetroLink light rail vehicles on 46 miles of track serving 38 stations in the two-state area, and operates Metro Call-A-Ride, a paratransit fleet of 122 vans. Metro Transit is one of five enterprises operated by Bi-State Development.