Arts & Events

Art bus helps passengers view unique side of Tacoma art scene

Celebrating the 11th anniversary of the Tacoma Bus Tour during Tacoma’s Art @ Work Month, attendees of the event boarded the yellow charter bus excited and ready for a day’s worth of art. The event gives the people of Tacoma the chance to visit and talk to over 55 local artists.
With the choice to pay the regular admission fee of $15 or VIP admission for $25, buyers who spent the extra $10 enjoyed a goody bag filled with gift certificates, candy and coupons from local businesses that sponsor the Art Bus. A VIP ticket also automatically enters you into a raffle for prizes like an art magazine subscription or future art bus tour tickets. From ceramics to glass, the tour covered a wide range of eclectic displays of art. In places that even locals overlook, passengers are able to experience a different side of Tacoma.
The first stop was Angela Wales Rockett’s display of abstract acrylic paintings. Located on the third floor of a Post Office, Rockett paints with no prior planning or idea of what the outcome will be. Fans of her work however, know that her use of rich colors and texture guarantee a beautiful result.
The bus then took a turn to Jason Lee Middle School, where the tour was able to see Hilltop Artists at work. Young students with torches and glass rods were seen making beautiful glass beads. Older glass blowers created bright colored bowls and vases with different patterns near the large furnaces. Connecting people from different economic and cultural backgrounds with the art of glass blowing, Hilltop Artists is a non-profit organization that provides free supplies and instruction.
With a pottery studio in the back of the store, the Throwing Mud Gallery was an interesting destination. Cups and plates of different colors, shapes and designs were displayed around the store. Rabbit-shaped salt and pepper shakers were one of the many unique items created there.
The next destination was an old couple’s studio connected to their home. John McCuiston had an array of botanical-themed works with a wall showcasing hand-made ceramic flowers that took him three months of trial and error to create. He also made plates and tiles with detailed birds, fish and plants.
The visit to artist Karen Doten’s home was fascinating with her exhibit of landscape-themed works of art. Using various techniques with charcoal and graphite, she created an impressionistic depiction of a mountain scene with the layers and white space of the canvas.
One of the last stops was an old, worn building called the Manitou Art Center, where different rooms showcased different styles of art. Visitors experienced shockingly life-like human models and paintings that were painstakingly made with vivid detail in every bone and crevice.
As the tour came to an end, people took a little more time to appreciate UW Tacoma Professor Beverly Naidus’ “Intermedia” installation filled with themes such as outcasts, unemployment, consumerism, nightmares, and her own dreams. Fabrics of cloth and pictures woven into each other filled her exhibit, with colors that gave off feelings of confusion and loss. Her concepts are socially engaging and are geared towards acceptance of such problems and healing them.
“What I like about the experience is that people running the bus brought together so many types of artists solely for the enrichment of people’s lives and no other motive,” Aurelia Wieber said.
Filled with both artistic appreciation and delicious snacks kindly provided at each of the tour sites, art lovers left the bus happy and planning to attend the December Art Bus Tour. The trip is a great way to get to know the city as you travel through every artistic inch of Tacoma in the span of five hours.
Be sure not to miss out on next month’s tour, when the bus is decked out in Christmas decorations and where all participants ride wearing a Santa hat. Next month’s tours will be on Dec. 1 and Dec. 8.