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Arts & Culture

New West Side Bus Shelters Are Works Of Art

Bus shelters may seem like a mundane place for art. But as I found out, not if you’re in San Antonio.
They are bright red, green, orange, purple and pink. And there's a reason for that.

“This is seen as a gateway to this cultural corridor, this district,” said San Antonio Public Art Manager Jimmy LeFlore.

“These different bus stops are a point of departure and a point of entry, and now, with the artists designs, which we’re dedicating today, it really celebrates the arts in this area,” LeFlore said.

I had to point out that all a bus shelter really has to do is to provide a place to sit and to have some shelter.  I asked LeFlore why they decided on the project.

“That’s an opportunity to define where this place is and make it something different than the rest of the city,” LeFlore said.

This area is at Guadalupe and Brazos Streets in the city’s West Side, right near the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center. LeFlore told me what the bus stops are made of.

“They are very, very durable. They are made of steel,” he said.

I noted that even though they're made of steel, they look kind of delicate, too.

“Well, that’s the magic of having an artist look at something," he said. "They’re certainly going to see it differently than an architect or an engineer or a commercial wholesaler. And they put the really beautiful finish on something that also has function and will last for a long time.”

I asked how many have been built.

“There’s three total. They are all very much the same vein but each one is unique,” he said.

I wondered whose design was the winning design.

“It’s a design team -- Andréa Caillouet is the artist who’s the lead and she also works with Lisa Reese who’s an architect, and Jack Harrison, who’s a structural engineer," LeFlore said.

This is where I came across an interesting subsequent story. He introduced me to a woman who also was involved. Melinda Garces, who fabricated these heavy steel bus shelters, but not in the old school way.

That story next week.