Art Transportation in Public Transit Systems: The Story of a Daughter of a Bus Driver and an Upcoming Exhibition

Art in everything

My dad has certainly earned his title as the ‘Rad Dad’ when it comes to transportation in San Francisco. With over 3 decades of experience as a Muni operator, he’s like a living GPS – able to guide you through the city with ease and show you its hidden gems – Art transportation.

He calls his favorite route “The San Francisco Nook and Cranny Tour”. It’s become one of his most popular tours for out-of-town guests. From growing up in the Bayview District to completing his after-school job in Union Square. Dad has spent plenty of time on buses and streetcars throughout the years. Also, he loves sharing stories about San Francisco’s history.

On the tour, my dad shows visitors some of the interesting places that can only be accessed by public transportation. This includes art galleries, local eateries, and scenic parks like an art transportation.

Through this tour, they can get a firsthand look at how art affects transportation in San Francisco. It’s coming from an experienced local who truly knows all the nooks and crannies around town. From streetcars to cable cars, buses to BART trains, my dad is always ready to show his guests around and tell them more about this amazing city.

My dad was an incredible storyteller with a knack for making mundane bus rides feel special. From the 38 Geary to the 71 Haight/Noriega, he never failed to entertain us with his captivating tales.

Art transportation on Downtown and Market Street

While riding the 38 Geary, he’d tell us stories of accompanying my grandparents Downtown to shop at the Emporium on Market Street and then treating them to ice cream from Woolworth. On the 71 Haight/Noriega route, he recounted how my grandparents had attempted to rent an apartment on Buchanan and Haight. However, they were denied due to their race – unfortunately a common experience at the time.

These stories painted a picture of our beloved city that has since been etched in my memory. Not only did I learn more about San Francisco’s history, but I also gained insight into my own family’s story. Dad taught me how to get around – navigating different Muni bus lines like a pro. It left me with some classic transit transfers as souvenirs of our outings together.

Though it’s been years since our first adventure, each trip on a local bus line still awakens nostalgia from those special moments spent with Dad.

Muni Raised Me, an art transportation exhibition curated by local artists Meymey Lee, Sasha Vu and Celi Tamayo-Lee, is a tribute to San Francisco’s past and to the Black and Brown people who have been affected by systemic violence in our city.

The Exhibition and Everything About It

The centerpiece of the exhibition is a decommissioned Muni bus that has been fully customized with art. It provides visitors with a unique glimpse into the past through art. For example, clothing designer Sophia Mitty – born and raised in Sunset and the Mission – created a collection of jackets adorned with cross-stitched art depicting businesses and destinations she visited as a child that no longer exist.

The show serves as a reminder of the importance of public transportation in connecting us with our loved ones. It is especially for those who have relied on it throughout their lives. As such, visitors have been encouraged to bring offerings to the Muni altar inside the bus. It’s sure to be an inspiring experience for everyone involved!

Art in the Fabrics of Fashion

San Francisco-based artist, Mitty, has recently made waves in the fashion industry with their unique and eye-catching jackets. Each jacket is hand-painted and features vibrant illustrations of places like Doggie Diner and Thrift Town that are special to the artist and capture the essence of San Francisco.

One of the most powerful pieces is emblazoned with the word “DEFEND” across the back. It also features a skull being stabbed by a dagger and a snake slithering through its orifices. The design is a reminder for newcomers to respect and defend Frisco’s culture.

Mitty’s art transportation also extends beyond clothing. They have also been known to collaborate on album artwork for Bay Area hip hop artists as well as provide visuals for local events. The artist believes that their work should not just be appreciated by their peers. But, it was rather seen as an integral part of their city’s culture and identity.

Their artwork has become an essential part of San Francisco’s growing art scene. It gives locals something tangible they can wear or hang in their homes while paying homage to their beloved city.

Deep Childhood Nostalgia on an Art Installation

Artist Alyssa Aviles delved deep into her childhood nostalgia when she created an art installation inspired by the 48 Quintara bus line. Growing up, Aviles often took the long ride from her home in the Mission District of San Francisco to the beach. She looks at all the different landscapes and people that populated the route along with her.

Aviles’ installation includes a variety of pieces that capture the memories of growing up in San Francisco. Paintings of SF Giants memorabilia her dad kept in his garage and a classic, oversized bus transfer she saved as a keepsake. “It really feels like I’m time-traveling back to my childhood when I look at these pieces.” She said, “like I can almost feel what it was like for me growing up here.”

The project is more than just art; it serves as a reminder of how special public transportation can be. “It’s something so many people take for granted but it’s been such an integral part of my life and childhood,” said Aviles. “That’s why this piece means so much to me.”

Art Transportation in San Francisco

As a proud San Francisco native, it’s always been something special to get around the city on public transportation. Growing up riding Muni was one of the things that united us all. No matter where you were from or what culture you identified with, it was an experience shared by so many of us.

Now, with the “Muni Raised Me” art transportation installation, local curators are hoping to bring back that same feeling. It also help foster a sense of community among San Franciscans. Taking place from February 24th through April 9th 2023, this show will be a chance for locals to come together and express their unique connection with San Francisco and all its intricacies.

The exhibition aims to showcase art in a variety of mediums all related to transportation. It will feature pieces based on stories and experiences surrounding our beloved Muni as well as other forms of public transport in SF.

This is more than just a creative display. It’s an opportunity for us to celebrate our diversity while reflecting on the beauty, challenges and relationships we have with our city. So if you find yourself looking for a way to appreciate the Bay Area this spring, don’t miss out!

DO’H! – A Final Thought

We can all appreciate the story of a father who has dedicated his life to art transportation in San Francisco as a Muni operator.  His commitment to showing the true beauty of San Francisco through his “Nook and Cranny Tour” has certainly opened up my eyes to an interesting side of art transportation in this city!  That leaves me wondering: what other hidden gems of art transportation exist around the world?

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