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The Bayview Bus Project: Art Not Ads!

In this project (already underway and partly supported by The 3rd Street Youth Clinic) teens in the Bayview District will create expressive art to place on Muni buses, counteracting hateful ads and transforming the transit experience across the city. The money will be used to purchase art supplies for the creation of the art and (primarily) to purchase the advertising space.


With hateful ads appearing on SF buses once again (http://bit.ly/1w75jKp), we think it’s high time to give our city’s transit a little makeover. The Museum of Joy has been working with youth in the Bayview to produce art around the theme of joy and community, and what better place to put it than inside a Muni bus for the whole city to see?

Far from being creative spaces, Muni buses are often dirty, cramped, and miserable, with nothing to look at on your long ride when you can’t get a seat but the advertising on the walls. But those ads don't actually cost much – and are a perfect opportunity to provide SF riders with inspiring art at the same time as giving a voice to youth whose thoughts, feelings, and ideas are rarely heard outside their own neighborhood.

We’ll deepen our work with the youth of the 3rd Street Youth Center by creating a series of artworks expressing their dreams, hopes, and visions for themselves and their city. The art will be placed on buses that terminate in the Bayview; for 50 ad cards, the agency that places the ads estimates 1,810,200 impressions (really!) for the art over a 4-week period.

The vision of the participating youth will reach out from their own neighborhood and wind its way through the Bayview, the Mission, the Haight, the Fillmore, Pac Heights, & the Marina, surprising and delighting riders who realize the ads have been replaced with art and their bus subtly transformed into a space of communication, creativity, and the sharing of meaning.

This project is an answer to the recent spate of vitriolic ads placed on the sides of Muni buses (http://bit.ly/1w75jKp), which the SFMTA has worked to address by replacing some of their ads with quotes from famous peacemakers and signs saying “Love,” “Peace,” and “Acceptance.” We hope to inspire other artists to come forward and transform their public spaces from mouthpieces for hate into locations uniquely poised to carry a message of inspiration across the city – literally.

The Museum of Joy exists to transform public spaces into locations rich with aesthetic possibility and unexpected meaning. Past projects include Poemflowers, a Valentine’s gift of love poems to strangers; the Awesome-funded Library of Joy, which left 100 tiny books in 12 SFPL branches over the Easter/Passover weekend; operas staged on BART platforms; pop-up dance performances; and the yearly lantern-lit labyrinth on Baker Beach, one of the top free anti-Black-Friday events in the Bay Area.

Funded by San Francisco, CA (December 2014)