Saturday, Jul 23, 2016
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

By rolling out 6 more vehicles, busesaim to transport minds to new places

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Tyler Fortney, a Bowling Green State University student from Medina, Ohio, stands by his artwork that graces this bus.


Micah Washington never liked writing poetry, and only started to do so because it was a requirement of the Young Artists at Work summer program.

But now that one of his poems is featured on a TARTA bus that rolls throughout the Toledo area, the 16-year-old said he plans to continue scrawling rhymes and stanzas.

He said he went through about 15 rough drafts to come up with his winning poem: You hit an ice slick and/ Everything shatters/ Like a glass falling/ From hands that held/ Too much to drink.

I just started writing, and it just came out, the Bowsher High School student said of the poem that he created for the Art in TARTA project, now in its third year.


Shirley Kirshner looks over her fi rst-place poem, which is being featured on the side of a bus.


The project, led by the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo and Toledo Area Regional Transportation Authority, encourages the exposure and appreciation for the arts in the community by artistically enhancing buses, bus shelters, and stops throughout the TARTA service area, said Susan Maxwell, marketing and development coordinator of the arts commission.

This year, five more colorful buses will join about 15 others in TARTA s fleet of about 250 that have been wrapped with huge sheets of contact paper imprinted with original designs and poetry created by area youth and members of the community.

A sixth TARTA bus is decorated with illustrations on two side panels.

The artwork was crafted with this year s theme in mind: glass, in honor of the Toledo Museum of Art s Glass Pavilion, which was opened to the public in August.

Five of the TARTA buses are adorned with poetry written by three members of the Young Artists at Work program Micah, Sara Drake, and Megan Wawrzyniak.

Sara s poem is repeated on three buses: The glass city is no sanctuary/ but a sharp cruel attempt at beauty./ Without light, delicate architecture/ becomes mere jewels.

Visual interpretations created by Bowling Green State University student Tyler Fortney, 22, also appear on three buses, all with different poems.

He said he s most proud of the bus featuring explosions of light, color, and sound bursting from broken light bulbs so shrill that a person must shield her ears.

It took a lot of work and late nights, but it was all totally worth it, he said, gazing proudly at his masterpiece.

Two other buses are decorated with designs by BGSU graphics design students Brian Watterson and Lindsay Gadberry.


Christina Stanley, 12, photographs some of the award-winning designs and poetry that is being displayed on buses. TARTA and the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo sponsored the contest.


The poem on the sixth bus, written by Shirley Kirshner, 83, of Ottawa Hills, represents the one that won the open poetry competition for the general public, sponsored by TARTA and the arts commission.

And Ms. Kirshner was just delighted to see a mostly-red design featuring her haiku poem.

I think it s wonderful because it s a happy bus, Ms. Kirshner said.

TARTA officials say they plan to support the project next year, using the environmental theme of restore planet Earth.

Contact Erika Ray at: or 419-724-6088.

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