Smart Growth America is excited to announce the selection of three transit agencies to participate in the second round of the Arts & Transportation Rapid Response initiative. A call for locally-based artists interested in working on the projects is now open.
After working with five agency and artist teams this past year on Slow Streets, Safe Routes to School, transit, and more, Smart Growth America has selected three agencies to participate in the second round of the Arts & Transportation Rapid Response initiative which will exclusively focus on public transit. (Read more about why we are focusing on transit for this round here.) Over the next few months, these agencies will launch artist-led projects to address COVID-19 transit challenges in their communities. Each of their proposed projects seeks to creatively and uniquely address COVID-related transit challenges and systemic inequities.
Smart Growth America’s Arts & Culture team, in partnership with Forecast Public Art, will work with the following agencies:
- Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (Atlanta, GA)
- Port Authority of Allegheny County (Pittsburgh, PA)
- Quaboag Valley Community Development Corporation (Ware, MA)
The next step in this process is identifying three artists to work in partnership with the agencies.
Local artists who are based in these areas and are interested in working on the project should apply here. The deadline for submission is 5:00 pm ET on February 19, 2021.
Meet the projects
Read the project summaries below to learn more about each agency’s challenge and proposed project.
Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (Atlanta, GA)
During the COVID-19 pandemic, MARTA has seen an increase in the number of unsheltered individuals taking refuge on the transit system. MARTA has teamed with HOPE Atlanta, a local non-proﬁt organization that offers housing, social services, substance abuse counseling, and employment, to humanely address this issue. MARTA seeks to work in close partnership with an artist and HOPE Atlanta to develop a project that thoughtfully addresses MARTA’s unsheltered ridership during the pandemic.
Port Authority of Allegheny County (Pittsburgh, PA)
While overall transit ridership is down across Allegheny County, PA, some of Port Authority’s bus routes and corresponding bus stops have actually experienced instances of overcrowding. The majority of remaining riders are essential workers, who particularly in this region, are more likely to be low-income and people of color. To address this issue, Port Authority has increased the frequency on some routes but also sees this as a unique opportunity to partner with an artist. Port Authority seeks to work with an artist to develop innovative ways to better use space at some of the crowded bus stops and rail stations.
Quaboag Valley Community Development Corporation (Ware, MA)
In the last few years, Quaboag Valley Community Development Corporation (QVCDC) has worked closely with community partners and leaders to address the lack of transportation access in their rural Massachusetts region. In 2017, QVCDC launched a demand-response ride service that has been well-received by the community. To complement that service, QVCDC is working to set up a fixed-route shuttle service that won’t require riders to call ahead to request a ride. While the plans and timelines have shifted due to the pandemic, QVCDC seeks to work with an artist to help promote the new service—launching in 2021—to the community and communicate relevant safety messages to keep riders and drivers safe.
Smart Growth America has partnered with Forecast Public Art to assist in the matching of artists with the selected agencies. Forecast, based in St Paul, Minnesota, is a national nonprofit organization that activates, inspires, and advocates for public art that advances justice, health, and human dignity.
Stay tuned for more information on this project. Smart Growth America will make a public announcement when the artists have been finalized on our website www.smartgrowthamerica.org
This program is made possible with support from the Kresge Foundation.