Buffalo’s bus shelters are not very interesting compared to some bus shelter designs around the world.
Once a bus shelter is designed, constructed, and installed, there’s not much that one can do to beautify it. Or is there?
Due to COVID-19, CEPA Gallery has been looking at ways of getting artists’ works out into the public, since they can’t put up shows at the gallery. It was decided that the bus shelters offered interesting opportunities for the artists to display their works.
CEPA Gallery’s Photography Works program is a year-long intensive for high school students who are interested in a career in the visual arts.
With funding support from The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo and The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Funds (at The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo), along with support from the County of Erie, County Executive Mark Poloncarz, and the Erie County Legislators and the National Endowment for the Arts, CEPA Gallery’s Photography Works students not only have access to a fantastic program, they have a public place to exhibit their photographic works.
Altogether, 20 bus shelters have been adorned with photographic works – each of the shelters is strategically positioned in close proximity to the respective student’s home.
Students explore photo-related careers and interact with professional artists through studio visits and guest lectures.
“We realized that with the ongoing uncertainty, we were not likely to be able to welcome folks into our galleries in the same fashion as before, for quite some time,” says Executive Director, Lawrence Brose. “We have a long history of engaging community partners to provide low-barrier access to arts programming, exhibitions and education.”
This is not the first time that CEPA has utilized bus stops to show works. In 2002, CEPA Gallery’s Bus Show was considered ‘the longest running public art exhibit in North America.’
“We’ve also exhibited work in vacant lots, in public green spaces, and even on people’s porches,” says Brose.
Lamar, the company responsible for the advertising spaces on bus shelters, estimates that nearly 500,000 people will see the exhibit
Aside from gaining invaluable experience in the realm of designing, installing, and exhibiting the works, the students benefit in the following ways:
- Photography Works students are provided with a Canon Rebel DSLR camera, which they get to keep upon completion of the program.
- Students learn advanced technical skills and enjoy unlimited access to the National Fuel Learning Center at CEPA, which includes a fully stocked black and white darkroom, digital photo lab, studio space and comprehensive library.
Best of all, the program is offered for free, thanks to the funding from supporters and sponsors.
The Photography Works Bus Shelter show will run until the end of August.
Lead image: Bradley Zubek