Flint artist paints Saginaw transit bus with poet Theodore Roethke-themed mural
SAGINAW, MI – The Saginaw Transit Authority and regional services hired an artist and muralist from Flint to paint a public transport bus with artwork inspired by Indigenous poet Theodore Roethke – artwork that riders will soon enjoy on their journeys daily.
Pauly Everett’s art covers the exterior of a STARS bus that will soon be offering regular routes as a public transport agency resumes daily bus trips. Everett got to work in the parking lot of the Saginaw Art Museum on Wednesday, September 2, where locals could stop and watch him in action.
STARS, the Michigan Humanities Council, and the Eastern Michigan Council of Governments are funding the mural, and the project is part of a partnership between STARS and the Saginaw Valley State University Writing Center.
The art is part of the Theodore Roethke Poetry and Art Festival, which is scheduled for March 2021, according to a press release. The bus will also be on display from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 17, during a “Poetry in the Garden” event at the Saginaw Art Museum, located at 1126 N. Michigan Ave.
Everett got the job after submitting his designs for the Roethke-inspired murals, he said. This is the first time Everett has used a transit bus for a canvas; he once helped paint an old school bus, but this is the first time his art will be part of a functioning and mobile infrastructure.
“I want to paint the whole thing, but we have to make room for people and the driver, you don’t want to distract too many people on the road, do you?” Everett joked. “Glad to see him in downtown Saginaw when everything is ready.”
Everett used to take a bus to Flint Art School and often dreaded the ride, he said. He hopes his art can help brighten the runners’ days and improve the overall experience for them, he said.
“I think if I had a normal day waiting for a bus to stop, and something like that would stop, it would make me smile,” Everett said.