In the midst of all this Pattullo news, I just wanted to mention that our first Main Street public art project had its official launch last Saturday. I put together the video above and the post below to showcase some of the sights and sounds from the launch, which was held at Vivo Media Arts Centre on Main Street.
If you hadn’t heard, our overall public art program for Main Street is called 88 BLOCKS • Art on Main, and it’s part of the Main Street Urban Transportation Showcase project, an innovative transportation improvement program launched in 2004 and jointly funded by Transport Canada (through the Urban Transportation Showcase Program), TransLink and the City of Vancouver. (Check out the official Main Street Showcase page for more on the project.)
Instant Coffee is the artists’ collective behind A Bright Future, the first public art project in the 88 BLOCKS program. Several honoured guests were on hand to celebrate the launch of their project — Andrew Saxton, North Vancouver’s MP, spoke on behalf of Transport Canada; Vancouver deputy mayor Heather Deal spoke for the City of Vancouver, and Sheri Plewes, our very own vice-president of Planning and Capital Management gave a few words on TransLink’s behalf. Plus, the two buses featuring Instant Coffee’s artwork were parked outside the venue.
A Bright Future runs from January to April 2009 and features four works from Instant Coffee…
… Blanket Bus, an articulated bus wrapped in an afghan print, as seen in the video above (you may have seen it on the street already — feel free to send photos and stories if you catch it!)…
… Instant Coffee 500, where Instant Coffee invited 14 artists to design 16 interior ad cards to be displayed in one bus. Customers were then asked to vote until Jan. 17 through text messages and the Instant Coffee website on which artist ad card they like best—the winner, Will Munro, gets $500 and his card featured on the outside of another articulated trolley for the remainder of the project. (His winning card is pictured above!) …
… Say Nothing in Bright Colours, a series of brightly-coloured sandwich boards bearing hand-painted slogans permanently installed up and down Main Street….
… and Light Bar Bus Shelter, where Instant Coffee transformed the Main and 20th Avenue bus shelter into a full spectrum light therapy bar. As Instant Coffee describes it, Lightbar is “a moment of solace; only fifteen minutes at the bus shelter is all you need from your daily dose of vitamin D and a brighter future.” (The lights are a temporary installation and are motion-sensor activated.)
And as explained in the previous post, this public art program is just one of many measures in a broad package of improvements being installed to give people a better transportation experience on Main Street.
Urban design, new transit technology, and a fleet of new buses all contribute to a more efficient transit system and make Main Street more welcoming for pedestrians and transit riders, in turn serving the ultimate goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The project has brought Main Street some new street furniture, sidewalk improvements, and the new articulated trolleys on the #3 route. In the coming months the busiest stops on the route will be fitted with next-bus information and on-bus technology will communicate with traffic signals to help keep the buses on time.
And in addition to the Instant Coffee installation, 88 BLOCKS will present four more art installations over the next three years, wrapping up by April 2011.