Pleasanton Weekly

News - May 21, 2010

Bus stop gets beautiful

Wheels shelters blossom with colorful art by teens

by Dolores Fox Ciardelli

The newly colorful bus shelter on Old Bernal Avenue near the library was unveiled Wednesday evening, after Foothill High students from the Art Club painted it to represent Pleasanton.

The students worked under the guidance of their art teacher, Caroline Fields.

"The scenes are about transportation," said Fields. "Some are obvious, like the ACE train. Others are more subtle - like the bunny that alludes to the tortoise and the hare." A pumpkin is meant to represent Cinderella's carriage.

There were about 15 students involved, Fields explained, but three - Angie Son, James Kim and Chris Gomez - took the lead, including making presentations to the Pleasanton Civic Arts Commission. The process took about a year from start to finish.

"They had already pre-picked the bus stop," said Fields. "We had to accommodate the split panels and think about them in the design."

The students presented three designs to the Civic Arts Commission, which gave feedback. Then the teens did a full color mockup of the approved design, and the commission made more changes.

"It was great for the kids to experience the idea of public art," noted Fields. "As a teacher I've done many murals but not anything for the city of Pleasanton, something for our community."

"The kids put in a lot of hours," she added. "I'm very proud of them."

High schoolers from Pleasanton, Livermore and Dublin have decorated some of the bus shelters in their cities.

"We leave it to them to do something that depicts the community and works within the community," said Jan Cornish, community outreach coordinator for Wheels.

"We would like to have them all done but so far we are doing what the budget allows," explained Cornish.

This Wheels Bus Shelter Art Project is a collaboration of the Livermore Amador Transit Authority (LAVTA); staff from the city of Pleasanton as well as members of its Civic Arts Commission; and the Pleasanton Unified School District. LAVTA began the project in 1999 to improve the appearance of the shelters plus to mitigate vandalism.

"We work with each of the cities and they notify the art teachers," Cornish said. "The teachers have gone above and beyond and done an excellent job with their students."

The artists create the parts of the murals in their work spaces then the art is enclosed within see-through, anti-graffiti materials.

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