In the Fast Lane: Artists Johnson Ramirez to Create an Art Master Plan for RapidRide Expansion

Radical Self Love Seattle, 2018. Photo credit: Bruce Clayton Tom.

Get involved with this project!
Wednesday, December 11, 3:00—6:00 pm

Hop on a parked Metro bus for interactive art, music, poetry and wellness (more details)
RapidRide C Line, 2615 SW Barton Street across from Westwood Village

4Culture and King County Metro are pleased to share that artist team Johnson Ramirez have been selected to create a system-wide Art Master Plan for the RapidRide Expansion Program. Kristen Ramirez and Elisheba Johnson are both artists and public art project managers working here in the region. Collectively, they see public art as a practice that embraces “public” and “art” as equal sides of the same equation. When they approach projects, they begin by asking three fundamental questions: who works here? Who plays here? Who lives here? They believe every project ought to begin with meaningful engagement with the people who occupy a place, whether through questionnaires, storytelling, historical research, or celebration. The poetry-based performance shown above, Radical Self Love Seattle, captures their first collaboration together as artists. The project posited the question “what is self-love?” at a time that they, as two divorced moms seeking love while working jobs championing other artists, wished to champion themselves, too.

In anticipation of this project, they say that, “Rapid Ride is vitally important to transforming everyone’s commute, from our youth going to school, to our elders running errands. Reliable and convenient transit options are part of equitable urban planning. This is an exciting moment to imagine how art can transform bus rider’s lives.” Over the next six months, Johnson Ramirez will be analyzing and identifying opportunities to integrate art across the RapidRide system and on a line-by-line basis. Their work will culminate in a conceptual framework for system-wide and community-specific art integration and intervention. This Art Master Plan will directly inform how 4Culture and Metro prioritize future artist opportunities, and will be a living document that adapts and responds to the evolving RapidRide Expansion program over the next 7–10 years. Although the plan will lay a foundation for other artists’ work, Johnson Ramirez will have the opportunity to propose ideas for their own artwork for the expanded RapidRide system, or a particular line and location. They will launch their work with a community engagement event in December—stay tuned for details.

RapidRide is King County Metro’s premiere service: arterial bus rapid transit. First implemented in 2009, there are six existing lines (A-F) serving King County today. Each day, these lines carry almost 20% of the over 400,000 daily Metro transit trips taken around the Seattle region and represent one of the busiest bus rapid transit systems in the nation. King County and the Seattle region are experiencing unprecedented population growth. To meet the ever-increasing demand for high quality transit service, a massive expansion of the RapidRide system, King County Metro’s arterial bus rapid transit service, is underway. Seven new lines are planned to launch between 2021 and 2027.