The Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation, DART and local performing artists, including hip-hop artist MarKaus Ashworth partnered to unveil the ninth art bus at DART Central Station on Wednesday, March 13. The Public Art Foundation commissioned Marianne Fairbanks, a Wisconsin-based artist, to create the new art bus wrap, entitled Zigs Zag, Zags Zig. The project is part of the Public Art Foundation’s Project Spaces initiative, which places compelling, contemporary works of art in highly accessible and visible public spaces. The public can view the bus as it travels on DART bus routes throughout Greater Des Moines.
Just before 3 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13, a group of local performing artists and dancers revealed the new art bus with a flash mob at DART Central Station. Ashworth orchestrated the event and debuted his new single, “Move”. Staff and board members from DART and the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation joined waiting bus riders, dancers and artists at the unveiling. Video and photos for media use are available upon request.
“We were excited to think outside-the-box on this special unveiling of the ninth art bus in the series,” said M. Jessica Rowe, director of the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation. “Not only will artist Marianne Fairbanks’ art enrich the lives of people across the region as the bus travels among DART’s member communities, but we were also able to share a special artistic experience with DART riders today. Special thanks to MarKaus and the dancers that joined him to put on this incredible performance.”
Much of Fairbanks’ recent work focuses on the intersections of weaving, mathematics, and technology. These themes can be found in her design for the art bus, as Fairbanks elaborates, “My work pays homage to sophisticated textile traditions including age-old indigenous processes in form-making and domestic hand-spun textile production. It is equally informed by the Platonic geometry used in architectural forms and sculptures pioneered by American architect Buckminster Fuller. Mathematics is at the heart of these systems of logic – both pliable textiles and Platonic solids – and serves as the springboard for bold, material-based explorations. Between the inflated scale and bold patterns this work destabilizes conventional gender based value systems of hard and soft form-making, and encourages a deep engagement with our material world.”
Fairbanks is an assistant professor in the Design Studies department at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her BFA from the University of Michigan (BFA). Her work has been shown nationally and internationally in venues including The Museum of Art and Design, NY, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, The Smart Museum of Art, Chicago, and Museum London, Ontario. Fairbanks is a founding member of Mess Hall, an experimental cultural space in Chicago, and co-founder of Noon Solar, a small business that made wearable solar technology to charge personal electronics.
Art Bus Series Details
The bus wrap project began with an open call, which generated a response from 45 artists across 21 states. A team of art professionals reviewed more than 325 images and finalists were commissioned to create concept proposals. This is the ninth in a series of DART buses that have been wrapped with unique and colorful compositions. Previous art buses included designs by artists Alex Brown (November 2014), Jay Vigon (June 2015), Susan Chrysler White (March 2016), Larassa Kabel (June 2016), Brent Holland (October 2016), Jordan Weber (June 2017), Benjamin Gardner (December 2017) and Nick Goettling (June 2018).