published Sunday, June 19th, 2011

Five Chattanooga shuttles are wrapped in art

Public Art Chattanooga, CARTA and River City Co. have collaborated on a new art initiative that is sure to attract attention from Chattanoogans and tourists alike.

Five of CARTA’s electric shuttles that run between the Chattanooga Choo Choo and North Shore have been “wrapped” with designs created by painters, collage artists and graphic designers.

A call for entries for this project solicited 31 designs from people living or working within a 50-mile radius of the city. The five chosen were translated onto vinyl wraps by National Poster Co.

“We asked those submitting designs to keep in mind the revitalization of downtown Chattanooga,” said Lisa Flint, vice president of marketing for River City Co. “The shuttles run all day long, so there is a guaranteed audience and high visibility.”

Peggy Wood Townsend, director of Public Art Chattanooga, said the selection committee tried to choose a variety of styles and artists with diverse approaches.

“This was also an opportunity for artists working in two-dimensional mediums to participate in a public art project,” she said.

Each winner received a $2,000 honorarium.

Jaimie Davis used digital photography to capture a view of the city for his design, “Chattanooga’s Urban Connection, Yellow.”

Claire Vassort, who hand-paints colorful designs on silk, created “Breath of Life” with trees as the focal point.

“Our natural world is in constant motion,” she said in her artist’s statement. “Trees are fundamental characters — breathing, standing, flexible symbols that are a clear sign of invisible change.”

Rondell Crier’s colorful, abstract design for “Joy Ride” is sure to catch the eye of viewers, while Karen Estes used a stylized digital illustration of people enjoying Chattanooga’s cultural and recreational advantages for “It’s all right here.”

Daryl Thetford’s “Urban Landscape” was translated from a photo collage.

“I have chosen to depict the energy and urban contemporary renewal of Chattanooga through abstract images of color, texture and text from urban poster walls, graffiti, signs and train cars,” he said.

The designs will remain on the shuttles through June 2013. Information about each artist and his or her design is available on each shuttle.

Email Ann Nichols at annsnichols@aol.com.

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