Art By Bus program hits the road again in Roanoke

Published: Sep. 27, 2023 at 7:30 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - The pandemic put the brakes on the Art By Bus program in Roanoke, but now it’s back on the road.

With Transit Supervisor Tony Minnick behind the wheel, a Valley Metro special left the Third Street Station Wednesday morning.

Among the passengers on board were Roanoke City Public Schools Art Teacher J.C. Stallings and the 2023 Writer By Bus Eva Lynch-Comer.

Stallings’ work, “Let Your Mind Be Creative,” came together with the help of students in his Lucy Addison Middle School classroom. It is now displayed on the side of a Valley Metro bus.

“I can make art for myself, because I’m practicing as a fine artist, but to engage in art with other people that is I think bringing art to another level,” he told WDBJ7.

Eva Lynch-Comer has used public transportation in several cities, and rode the bus in Roanoke to find inspiration for her book of poetry.

“The bus whirs along Colonial Ave, so quickly I can only catch the bones of trees,” Lynch Comer read to the Art By Bus supporters who gathered at the Third Street Station Wednesday morning.

She told us she hopes her work will reach those who use Valley Metro for transportation, and those who don’t.

“I hope people who ride the bus can make an adventure out of it, but then I hope those who don’t ride the bus, ride it,” she said in an interview.

Ride Solutions, the Roanoke Arts Commission and Valley Metro partnered on the program. And they celebrated its return.

“Our last Art By Bus was in 2019, and you know, I don’t have to say why we stopped it,” said Ride Solutions Program Director Andrea Garland. “So this is the rebirth of the campaign after having the momentum for five years, And you know now we have more things to showcase.”

With a new bus station and increasing ridership, organizers say the time was right to renew the Art By Bus program, and encourage more people in the Roanoke Valley to consider using public transportation.