VIA's Westside Multimodal Transit Center. Photo courtesy of Flickr user Mass Transit.

VIA Metropolitan Transit is looking for local artists to add some life and creative energy to its transit centers and local bus stops. With its “Art in Transit” project planned for later this year, VIA officials will be commissioning stand-alone pieces of art, such as sculptures and paintings, and seeking more integrated works of art, such as a centerpiece light fixture for a transit center’s main lobby.

“VIA is making a long-term commitment to the community with this program,” stated VIA President and CEO Jeff Arndt in a press release. “The fusion of public art with public transportation will improve and enliven the functional capacity of VIA’s assets while enhancing the customer experience throughout our service area.”

VIA will issue a Call For Artists later this summer and selected artists will be placed on a roster. From that roster, a panel of judges will choose the artists that best fit the multiple projects. The panel of judges will base its decision upon the artist’s existing work, style, resume, and experience level.

VIA staff members will assemble the panel of judges for each project, including arts management professionals, artists, VIA staff and community members.

Artist Selection Criteria:

  • Quality of art or design.
  • Impact on transit customers.
  • Connection to site and/or adjacent community.
  • Adequate consideration in design and installation to assure public health, safety and welfare.
  • Appropriateness for the site (scale, resistance to vandalism, maintenance).

“We want to match the expertise of the artist with the right project,” Christine Viña, AIA, VIA project manager of urban design.

VIA will develop a budget for Art in Transit each fiscal year which will, in turn, support the SmartMove short-term capital program and any other special projects. SmartMove, a branch of VIA’s long-range plan, is a five-year budget plan to develop transit centers, park and ride facilities, and patron amenities.

In addition to the larger projects, Art in Transit will accent local bus stops at significant or frequently used locations. The number of bus stops addressed each year will be defined in VIA’s Annual Plan.

The artists will be paid either a half of a percent or 1% of the capital project. How much that adds up to as a whole and for individual artists remains to be seen.

VIA will broadcast the Call For Artists through social media, community and public art websites, and VIA’s own outreach efforts. The Rivard Report will post alerts with links.

Artists can submit their contact information to to make sure they are notified of the Call For Artists announcement.

“The Art in Transit program, alongside the City’s Public Art San Antonio, speaks to the public sector’s commitment to enhancing San Antonio’s quality of life through art,” stated Felix N. Padrón, director of the City of San Antonio Department for Culture & Creative Development.

Public Art San Antonio (PASA) works directly with all City departments to incorporate art throughout San Antonio.

*Featured/top image: VIA’s Westside Multimodal Transit Center. Photo courtesy of Flickr user Mass Transit. 

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Joan Vinson

Former Rivard Report Assistant Editor Joan Vinson is a San Antonio native who graduated from The University of Texas with a bachelor's degree in journalism. She's a yoga fanatic and an adventurer at heart....