Arts and Culture

Update: Online Voting Now Open in "I Heart My RTD" Student Art Contest

Update: Online voting has begun in the "I Heart My RTD" student art contest. The website features sixteen designs created by middle school students in the Aurora and Cherry Creek school districts and asks users to vote for their favorite. Two designs will ultimately be chosen to be adapted for display on either side of a forty-foot bus.

Voting will be open until October 24. The winners will be announced October 31.

See also: RTD Art: Emanuel Martinez at the Tenth and Osage Station

Original post, published October 14: The Regional Transportation District is hosting a student art contest which will wrap the winners' work around the sides of a public bus. Called "I Heart My RTD," it's the brainchild of RTD board member Claudia Folska, profiled in a 2012 Westword cover story.

Folska, who is blind, believes that public transportation is crucial to the metro area's future -- and the contest is an attempt to bring young people and RTD together. "Art was the vehicle to get them engaged," she says of the students.

The contest is a pilot program in partnership with the Aurora and Cherry Creek school districts. The theme is "My World. My Art. My RTD." -- and the students were asked to submit artwork "that represents what public transportation means and how it benefits the community." About 2,400 middle-school students participated.

But there will only be two big winners. Here's how the selection process will work: Each participating school will choose two finalists. Then, between October 17 and October 24, the public can vote on RTD's website for their favorite piece of artwork. The three designs from each district that garner the most votes will move on to the next round, in which a committee comprised of RTD board members and community members will rank them. There will be a third-place winner, a second-place winner, a first-place winner and two grand-prize winners -- one from each school district.

The winners will be announced October 31. The grand-prize winners will work with RTD designers to adapt their artwork for the side of a forty-foot bus. One winner's design will appear on one side, and the other winner's design will appear on the other side. But the rest of the students' artwork won't go unseen: It will be displayed inside RTD buses throughout the transportation district.

"It was just a little idea that I had, but it was embraced by RTD and it was embraced by the teachers and the school districts and the kids," Folska says. She's excited about the online voting process. "I want to see our community go wild on it."

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Melanie Asmar is a staff writer for Westword. She joined the paper in 2009 and has won awards for her stories about education, immigration and epic legal battles. Got a tip? She'd love to hear it.
Contact: Melanie Asmar