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Mural-wrapped bus fits new route through arts corridor


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Photo by Alexis A. Goring. County Councilmen Eric Olson, left, and Will Campos weather the rain Monday, April 29, 2013, to speak to members of the community about the newly-wrapped Route 1 Ride bus. The artsy-looking bus adorn with designs by Jennifer Axner will run from College Park to Mount Rainier.

Photo by Alexis A. Goring. County Councilmen Eric Olson, left, and Will Campos weather the rain Monday, April 29, 2013, to speak to members of the community about the newly-wrapped Route 1 Ride bus. The artsy-looking bus adorn with designs by Jennifer Axner will run from College Park to Mount Rainier.

Published on: Wednesday, May 01, 2013

By Alexis A. Goring

A newly-wrapped Route 1 Ride bus was unveiled Monday in the Applebee’s parking lot in College Park.

“This amazing Route 1 Ride bus system is now unveiling the new bus wrap, which is a good branding for the corridor,” County Councilman Eric Olson, District 3, said during the ceremony. “It highlights all the different municipalities and all that they have to offer in dining and arts, shopping, farmers’ markets and the University of Maryland and other things.”

This new bus system, according to Olson, will be the answer some of the traffic concerns community members often share with local officials.

“Right now and in the past, we’ve had a lot of traffic on Route 1, and that’s one of the things we hear a lot of complaints about,” Olson said. “What we want to do is create a bus system that is predictable, that’s efficient and you know that if you go out and stand at a bus stop, this bus is going to come along within minutes and take you wherever you want to go in the corridor.”

Local artist Jennifer Axner created the winning design that now wraps The Bus 17. She answered a “Call for Artists” competition sponsored by the Anacostia Trails Heritage Area and the Hyattsville Community Development Corporation that called for artists to create an original work of art that featured cultural and commercial amenities along Route 1.

The very idea of creating a bus wrap inspired Axner from the start.

"The idea of creating my own bus wrap really captured my imagination,” Axner said. “Asking an artist to design a bus wrap in an urban arts district is such a fun and unusual concept. I love the way 'mobile' artwork can connect all the communities along the corridor and broadcast the message of the area being a seat of arts and culture.”

Axner is a visual artist familiar with working around a “variety of different art materials in lots of different artist studios.”

“When developing my design, I tried to think of all the different visual ways I could represent the Route 1 arts districts and all the studios and artists that work and live there; I thought that a tube of paint would be a strongly identifiable symbol of an artist environment,” Axner said. “A tube of paint with splashes of paint on a wooden 'palette' seemed like a fun and unusual way to represent the essence of the corridor and communicate the stops along the Route1 Ride as well.”

As the winner, Axner’s design will be showcased as the Route 1 Ride bus wrap for the next three years.

“We’re very excited about it because it does highlight all the wonderful things happening in our corridor,” Olson said about the finished product.

County Councilman Will Campos, District 2, called the bus wrap’s artwork “awesome,” and he has high hopes for the role the bus will play in the community’s perception of the Route 1 Corridor.

“People can see that we do have a thriving arts corridor and just in general Route 1 corridor that is developing and revitalizing,” Campos said.

Aaron Marcavitch, executive director of Anacostia Trails Heritage Area, is a partner of the program who was present at the unveiling ceremony. He spoke about the importance of having the new wrap make the public transport a “heritage bus.”

“In 2001 the idea was that we would have a route going up and down Route 1 that would take folks from heritage site to heritage site,” Marcavitch said. “It wasn’t more defined than that so when this project came along, we saw an opportunity to say ‘Well, we’ve got an existing bus system, we’ve got a new route, we’ve got a new look, let’s go ahead and tag into this, so that’s what we’ve been working on.’”

According to Marcavitch, a heritage site would include Joe’s Movement Emporium and anything having to do with art, history, nature or culture.

“We’re really working around tourism so we want people to go and eat and we want them to go and see the sites,” he said.

The Route 1 Ride bus route will go from the start of IKEA in the North through University of Maryland, Riverdale Park, Brentwood, North Brentwood and Mount Rainier. It also will connect with the College Park Metro.

“This is great for economic development,” Olson said. “It’s great for transportation, it’s great for smart growth, it’s great for the whole county.”

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