Young Artists Among Top Winners of 2018 MetroScapes Contest

When Theresa Hopkins attended a Metro Arts In Transit bus painting event in Pagedale this fall, she didn’t realize her visit would lead to something much bigger for her and two of her art students.

Hopkins, an art teacher at Jefferson Elementary in the Normandy School District, helped plan the Normandy Arts Festival with Beyond Housing on October 20. It was at this event where a new opportunity started to take on some color.

“I was researching more about the bus painting program when I learned about the MetroScapes competition,” she said. “I learned that the competition was open to all ages, so I went through about 150 of my archives from my art club, choose 12 art pieces that I felt would be good for public art and two artists were selected.”

Those two young artists were Eliyah Grimes-Jackson, 9, and Tyler Carlis, 10.

“I’m already proud of them,” Hopkins said. “For them to win something this huge – an adult competition – to me that’s what’s going to hook them for life.”

For Tyler, she’s already hooked to the world of art, specifically painting. Her winning piece, Maya Angelou, showcases the American poet with a variety of colorful shapes and textures in the background.

“I did it all by myself,” she said. “It was hard to do.”

Fourth-grader Eliyah’s winning art piece – which she actually painted in second grade – delectably reveals a subject everyone can get behind: cakes.

“One day while we were in art club, our art teacher told us to find something in a book to draw on paper and then we were going to paint it,” she said. “I chose to look in this art book and saw cakes, and I was like ‘Ooo, I should do this because almost everybody in the world likes cakes.'”

Even at a young age, Eliyah understood the power of art beyond the canvas. She knows art can bring a certain sprinkle to someone’s day.

“It inspires people” she said. “People may come home from work and they’re frustrated. That’s a good time to calm down and draw or paint.”

Hopkins started the art academy about four years ago at Jefferson Elementary, and since then, it has grown to include about 70 young artists. Demand for her organization has gotten so high that entry to the academy is by invite only.

To celebrate the two winning submissions, Hopkins is already thinking of ways to inspire all of her young artists.

“I want that hunger to never let go,” she said. “We’re talking about doing a bus tour so that we can see their artwork around town.”

Metro Arts in Transit selected 10 local artists for the 2018 MetroScapes program. Now in its fourth year, MetroScapes is a public transit art program that showcases local art at Metro transit locations. The program is supported by funding from the Regional Arts Commission.

Meet the 2018 MetroScapes Artists

The 10 local artists selected for the 2018 MetroScapes program couldn’t be more different, but they share one thing in common: excitement that their creations will be viewed by thousands of people and a desire that those individuals will be moved by what they see.

Now in its 4th year, MetroScapes is a public transit art program that showcases local art at Metro transit locations. This year’s winning artists are the most diverse group since the program began. Chosen from a pool of 175 submissions, the winners range from a 4th and 5th grader from Jefferson Elementary School in North St. Louis, to a high school senior from Union, Mo., a retiree from Washington, Mo., and six others whose experience as artists range from less than one year to decades.

David Allen, Director of Metro Arts in Transit and one of the jurors on a panel of artists and art professionals that selected the 10 winners, noted that he really loves the variety among the 10 pieces ultimately selected this year after a diligent review process.

“I look for work that is thought provoking and somewhat unusual. I try to put myself in the role of a transit rider, sitting in a shelter and thinking ‘What would I like to see?,’” Allen said. “The program continually brings surprise to the transit system.”

Those surprises come in many forms this year, starting with Cakes, created by Eliyah Grimes-Jackson, a 4th grader at Jefferson Elementary School who has been drawing since she was just one-year old. When asked where she got the inspiration for her colorful artwork that makes viewers hungry for a little something sweet, she said it came from a book her art teacher told the class to look through, and she came upon one of cakes. “I was like, ooh, I should do this, because almost everybody in the world likes cakes,” Eliyah said.

MetroScapes 2018

Her teacher, Theresa Hopkins, submitted that piece for this year’s contest, along with 11 other images created by students from her art academy, and one of her own. She was thrilled to learn that Maya Angelou, a vibrantly colored portrait of the American poet, singer and civil rights activist created by 5th grader Tyler Carlis, had also been selected.

“I’m really proud of them. For them to win something this huge, in an adult competition, that’s what’s going to hook them. You can’t tell them they are not artists,” Hopkins said.  As for what she wants them to get out of this experience, Hopkins added she hopes it’s the hunger to not ever let it go.

Organized Chaos, a dynamic piece that started with a spontaneous swirl by Jessica “Jesi” Fox, of Ballwin, Mo., was another winning selection in this year’s program. “It’s a huge deal for me,” Fox said. “I used to ride the transportation system a lot. So, I’ve sat at a lot of MetroBus stops and ridden the MetroLink. I think it’s awesome to have art from a lot of different people to inspire riders.”

Learn more: View artwork from current and past selected artists

Among the other 2018 winners who will be inspiring riders over the next year are:

  • Samuel Avery (St. Louis), whose piece Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop features a vivid Koi fish, celebrating the resiliency of the Koi, which is known for swimming upstream against all odds, even being known to swim up waterfalls as if no mission is impossible.
  • Noah Ennis (Union, Mo.), a senior at St. Francis Borgia High School in Washington, Mo., whose canvas Sandy Shores incorporates color in a way that creates a great sense of movement. Ennis only began painting in March of this year.
  • Tim Judge (Washington, Mo.), whose submission Sunflowers will bring a sunny smile to faces of many transit riders. Judge has painted for many years, but only got serious about his art after he retired in 2015.
  • Rachel Linn (St. Louis), whose drawing Hand is the first piece she’s ever had in an art show, and underscores the importance of the role our hands have in everything from daily tasks and communication to affection and art.
  • Joyce McClain (Barnhart, Mo.), who is a two-time winner in the MetroScapes program, and painstakingly created Ducklings, replicating an image in a photograph using water soluble oils to create the life-like baby ducks with feathers viewers will almost want to touch.
  • Rosa Nevarez (St. Louis), also a two-time winner of the MetroScapes contest, who captured the honor this year with Happy Party Hamster, a whimsical piece that is sure to delight.
  • Erik Thompson (Wildwood, Mo.), whose Letter Bending 1 is part of a series exploring the art of text and reflects Thompson’s interest in literacy and penmanship in the modern digital age.

MetroScapes is supported by funding from the Regional Arts Commission.

Metro Arts In Transit Selects 2018 MetroScapes Artists

A pop of color may be coming soon to a MetroBus shelter near you, thanks to the talents of 10 bi-state area artists.

Metro Arts in Transit (AIT) is proud to announce the winners of this year’s MetroScapes program, which showcases local art at MetroBus stops around the St. Louis region. Artwork of all types of mediums were submitted and reviewed by a panel of artists and art professionals, before the 10 winning art pieces were finally selected.

The winning artists and the titles of their works are:

  1. Samuel Avery – Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop
  2. Tyler Carlis – Maya Angelou
  3. Noah Ennis – Sandy Shores
  4. Jessica Fox – Organized Chaos
  5. Eliyah Grimes-Jackson – Cakes
  6. Tim Judge – Sunflowers
  7. Rachel Linn – Hand 
  8. Joyce McClain – Ducklings
  9. Rosa Nevarez – Happy Party Hamster
  10. Erik Thompson – Letter Bending 1

“The array of talent presented to us through this year’s submissions was simply amazing,” said David Allen, Director of Metro Arts in Transit. “The 10 pieces that were selected showcase some of the very best work the St. Louis region has to offer, and will allow us to transform bus shelters into mini art galleries that the entire community can enjoy.”

MetroScapes is funded through the support of the Regional Arts Commission.

Meet the Winning Artists

You’ll have a chance to see the artwork as well as meet the winning artists as part of the Third Fridays event series at Third Degree Glass Factory (5200 Delmar Boulevard) on Friday, November 16. The event — which will go from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. — is free and open to the public.

Video: Check out the winning 2017 MetroScapes artists.

Metro AIT launched the MetroScapes program as a way to support our local arts community while adding color and beauty to the neighborhoods Metro transit serves by featuring winning artworks on MetroBus shelters.

Turn a MetroBus Into A Work of Art on October 20

Help us add some color to the MetroBus fleet by painting a bus on Saturday, October 20 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Pagedale Town Center, located at 6763 Page Avenue. The event is free and open to all ages.

“When it comes to promoting creativity and appreciation and love of art, you cannot find a better partner than Beyond Housing and the Normandy Schools Collaborative,” said David Allen, Director of Metro Arts in Transit. “The bus painting is a fun and memorable way to engage children and adults and build community.”

When completed, the Art in Motion bus will go into regular service and travel along a variety of MetroBus routes in St. Louis City and St. Louis County for one year.

The Arts in Transit Bus Painting is co-sponsored by Beyond Housing and the Normandy Schools Collaborative. Both organizations belong to the 24:1 Community, a name that represents the 24 municipalities in the Normandy Schools Collaborative with one vision for successful children, engaged families and strong communities. Additional event sponsors include Life Arts Inc., the Missouri Arts Council and the Regional Arts Commission.

“The 24:1 Arts Culturefest is a celebration of the artistic talent that exists in the 24:1 community,” said Debbie Chase, Chief Strategy Officer of Beyond Housing. “There will be live performances from Normandy school kids, soul singer Brian Owens and West African master drummer Caph Guei. There will be barbecue, hot dogs and many booths where local artists will display art work, including great books for kids.”

The design for the Art in Motion bus was created by local artist William Burton Jr., and includes images of community members, buildings, trees and text, highlighting a vibrant, colorful neighborhood.

MetroLines Poetry Contest Winners Share Poems, Passion For Art

A new collection of poems is coming to a MetroLink train or MetroBus vehicle near you.

Winners of this year’s Metro Arts in Transit MetroLines Poetry Contest read their winning poems at a special reception on October 11 at the Regional Arts Commission in the Delmar Loop. The winning poems range from no more than a few words to up to 15 lines.

In addition to having the opportunity to read their poems in public, each winning poet received a $100 prize for their poems which will be displayed in the interiors of MetroBus vehicles and MetroLink trains for up to the next year. A panel of literary professionals from the St. Louis region judged selected the winning poems.

All of the poets live within a 50 miles radius of St. Louis. The winning artists and the titles of their works are as follows:

  • Dawn Dupler, Ballwin, MO, “Ben Franklin Experiences Jimi Hendrix Backstage at London’s Astoria”
  • Ben Moeller-Gaa, Louis, MO, haiku
  • Ellen Rohman, St. Louis, MO, “Dressing Wounds”
  • Steven D Schroeder, St. Louis, MO, “Some subjects are better / if we discuss in person”
  • Brigid Dolan, Chesterfield, MO, “Looking Glass”
  • John Savoie, Edwardsville, IL, “Autumnal”
  • Rachel Shields, St. Louis, MO, “After Dark”
  • Katelyn Delvaux, St. Louis, MO, “What My Father Should Have Said”
  • Markie Jo Crismon, St. Louis, MO, “The others will hear a drum”
  • Dena Molen, Kirkwood, MO, “The Road Trip We Never Took”
  • Gaye Gambell-Peterson, Charles, MO, “Intermission”
  • David Clewell, Webster Groves, MO, “Quality Control”
  • Dwight Bitikofer, Webster Groves, MO, “Candelabra”
  • Robert Lowes, St. Louis, MO, “LIGHT HOUSE”
  • Rebecca Ellis, Glen Carbon, IL, “Construction”

Winning EntriesCheck out the poems from the 2018 MetroLines Poetry Contest.

“Every year, I am amazed by the incredibly talented community of poets living in the bi-state region, and to hear them read their winning poems at the reception was very powerful,” said David Allen, Director of Metro Arts in Transit. “We hope their poems will further enhance the experience of the transit riding public as they commute on a MetroBus vehicle or a MetroLink train.”

MetroLines 2018

Poet and author Jason Vasser-Elong was the featured speaker at the special reception. Vasser-Elong read several pieces from his recently published book shrimp, his debut poetry collection examining identity in a post-colonial context. Currently a Program Specialist for the Missouri Arts Council, Vasser-Elong has an MFA in creative writing and poetry from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Arts in Transit is a non-profit subsidiary of Metro Transit founded in 1986 to facilitate public art programs and community engagement projects in the St. Louis mero area. Since 2001, Arts in Transit (AIT) has sponsored a variety poetry and literary programs. The program has evolved into MetroLines, which is supported by funding from the Missouri Arts Council.

Winners Selected for MetroLines Poetry Contest

Metro Arts in Transit has selected the work of 15 local poets for the 2018 MetroLines poetry contest. Each winning poet will receive a $100 prize and will have their original work reproduced on posters and displayed on MetroBus vehicles and MetroLink trains for up to one year.

The winning artists and the titles of their works are:

  • Dawn Dupler, “Ben Franklin Experiences Jimi Hendrix Backstage at London’s Astoria”
  • Ben Moeller-Gaa, haiku
  • Ellen Rohman, “Dressing Wounds”
  • Steven D Schroeder, “Some subjects are better / if we discuss in person”
  • Brigid Dolan, “Looking Glass”
  • John Savoie, “Autumnal”
  • Rachel Shields, “After Dark”
  • Katelyn Delvaux, “What My Father Should Have Said”
  • Markie Jo Crismon, “The others will hear a drum”
  • Dena Molen, “The Road Trip We Never Took”
  • Gaye Gambell-Peterson, “Intermission”
  • David Clewell, “Quality Control”
  • Dwight Bitikofer, “Candelabra”
  • Robert Lowes, “LIGHT HOUSE”
  • Rebecca Ellis, “Construction”

“A quiet ride on MetroBus or on a MetroLink train is a perfect setting to read, contemplate and appreciate wonderful poetry,” said David Allen, Director of Metro Arts in Transit. “I continue to be amazed by the incredibly talented community of poets living in the St. Louis area, and we are excited to have this opportunity to share their work with our transit riders.”

The MetroLines posters will be installed on MetroBus vehicles and MetroLink trains in October, but you can be one of the first to see them at the MetroLines Poetry Reading and Reception at 7 p.m. on October 11 at the Regional Arts Commission, located at 6128 Delmar Boulevard.

You will be able to meet the poets, hear their winning poems and also enjoy poetry reading by the reception’s featured reader, poet and author Jason Vasser-Elong. Vasser-Elong is the author of “Shrimp” published by 2 Leaf Press. Currently a Program Specialist for the Missouri Arts Council, Vasser-Elong has an MFA in creative writing and poetry from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

MetroLines is supported by funding from the Missouri Arts Council. To learn more about MetroLines, visit

Celebrate STL Car-Free Day on September 21

The St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Blues and other regional partners will join Metro Transit to celebrate STL Car-Free Day on Friday, September 21.

STL Car-Free Day will feature special events across the bi-state area where visitors can win prizes, enjoy food and music, and have fun while learning about the benefits of a car-free lifestyle and all of the alternative transportation options available to them.

“More and more metropolitan areas throughout the world are looking at car-optional transportation services, which are not only good for the environment and reduce congestion, but deliver tremendous civic and economic benefits as well,” said Jessica Mefford-Miller, interim Executive Director of Metro Transit. “The future of mobility will include a wide variety of car-free options, and we want to help everyone discover new ways to travel – whether it’s public transit, cycling, scooters or ride-sharing – so we can create a brighter future for our region.”

Join the Fun: Access a complete schedule of events, along with information on how to go car-free.

STL Car-Free Day begins during the morning commute on September 21 with a visit from Fredbird, who will surprise passengers on one of the area’s MetroBus routes with free tickets to an upcoming Cardinals game, followed by a lunch-time Transportation Pop-Up in the Cortex Innovation Community with food trucks and information from regional transportation partners. Metro Transit riders heading home or traveling to Blues and Cardinals games in downtown St. Louis evening will be able to enjoy live music at the North Hanley and Emerson Park MetroLink Stations, and the St. Louis Blues will host a car-free, pre-game celebration at the Civic Center Transit Center with Blues mascot Louie, the Blues Crew and a Metro Arts in Transit bus painting.

Participating partners include Big Shark Bicycle Company, Bird, City of St. Louis, Cortex, Great Rivers Greenway, Lime, Madison County Transit, Metro Transit, RideFinders, St. Clair County Transit District, Trailnet, University of Missouri Extension, St. Louis Blues and St. Louis Cardinals.

STL Car-Free Day

Ribbons of Hope for Ferguson on Display at North County Transit Center

The Ferguson Farmers Market is a staple in the community and has become the event to access fresh food and wholesome fun for residents and guests alike. However, on August 14, 2014 – a week after the death of Michael Brown – the future of the market and its art programs were uncertain.

Art Therapist Dana Sebastian-Duncan of the Queen of Peace Center and co-founder/board member of the Northern Arts Council, had an idea to welcome fellow artists, visitors and everyone in the neighborhood back to the Ferguson Farmers Market by providing a creative outlet for the entire community to share their thoughts and feelings. She’d rely on the power of art.

“I gathered materials on-hand, including ribbon, Sharpies, and clipboards and created a simple directive,” she said. “Ribbons of Hope for Ferguson asked people to write or draw on ribbons to express their vision of hope, their dreams, wishes or prayers for the future of Ferguson.”

The art project would soon grow to include all sorts of expressions, gaining momentum and growing into a grassroots movement. As news about the project spread, Missouri Art Therapists and groups in other communities, including some as far away as Ohio, Wisconsin, Texas, Florida and New York, created ribbons and sent them to Ferguson, expressing their support for the community.

“It became a collaborative community arts project, inviting the people of Ferguson and beyond to look toward the future in a creative project and process,” she said. “It also provided a ‘safe place’ for people to reflect, connect, commune and exchange dialogue.”

One of the ribbons Sebastian-Duncan remembers was one of the first written for the project.

“The first message one teen wrote was, ‘I hope my community can just get along again’,” she said. “That simple message had an impact on me. It elicited authentic and meaningful conversation, and definitely inspired me to keep the project going.”

A sampling of the Ribbons of Hope for Ferguson art project is now on display at the North County Transit Center.

“I hope riders will experience the art, read the messages and perhaps reflect on their own hopes, wishes, prayers and dreams of a better future, as we move forward, and come together as a community,” Sebastian-Duncan said.

Submit Your Artwork for 2018 MetroScapes Program

Metro Arts in Transit is offering local visual artists an opportunity to display their works across the St. Louis region and to get paid for their creations.

Artists who reside within 50 miles of St. Louis are invited to enter their original work for 2018 MetroScapes, a public transit art program that showcases local art at Metro transit locations. Ten different artworks will be reproduced as large-scale posters that will be displayed at more than 200 MetroBus shelters throughout the St. Louis region.

“MetroScapes provides local artists with a tremendous opportunity to have their work recognized, rewarded and shared with the community,” said David Allen, Director of Metro Arts in Transit. “St. Louis has an amazing art scene, and I am excited that we will be able to help incredibly talented and passionate local artists reach new audiences.”

Artwork selected for the 2018 MetroScapes program will also be reproduced as smaller, limited-edition posters available for purchase by the public. Each artist will receive three copies of the limited-edition poster and $1,000 for the use of their original image in the MetroScapes program.

Local artists may submit up to three images for consideration. All entries must be submitted online. Submitted images must be high-resolution with a minimum 300 dpi. The deadline for submissions is Friday, September 21, 2018, at 11:59 p.m.

A reception for the artists whose works were selected for the 2018 MetroScapes program will be held on Friday, November 16, at Third Degree Glass Factory, 5200 Delmar Boulevard.

Last year, 10 artworks were selected from a field of nearly 150 submissions, and the works are featured at Metro transit locations throughout the area. View the work of last year’s selected artists and learn more about the MetroScapes program.

Metro Arts in Transit Awarded More Than $20,000 in Public Art Grants

Metro Arts in Transit has been notified it will receive a total of more than $20,000 from two funding sources — the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis and the Missouri Arts Council — to fund public art programs that support local artists, enhance the public transit experience, and add beauty and art to the neighborhoods served by the Metro Transit system.

Metro Arts in Transit was recently awarded a $10,000 grant from the Regional Arts Commission and a $10,117 grant from the Missouri Arts Council. Both organizations work to broaden the growth, availability and appreciation of the arts, and these funds will be used to support three transit-oriented community art programs: MetroScapes, MetroLines and Art in Motion.  

MetroScapes is an annual public art program that reproduces the original work of local artists on large posters and features them at more than 200 MetroBus shelters and Metro Transit locations throughout the St. Louis region for a year.

MetroLines is a regional poetry competition that invites writers and local poets to submit their works for consideration to be reproduced on posters including visual imagery, and displayed on MetroLink trains and MetroBus vehicles as they travel throughout the bi-state area.

Art in Motion is an art program that allows the public to transform Metro buses into rolling works of art. Children, families and others are invited to paint specially designed murals on each side of the art bus, and the murals stay on display for one year as it travels along various routes throughout the St. Louis region.

“The Regional Arts Commission and Missouri Arts Council have been tremendous partners over the years,” said David Allen, Director of Metro Arts in Transit. “Their support and generous contributions will strengthen our public art programs and ensure we are able to celebrate and highlight art that can be enjoyed by our riders and all of the communities Metro serves.”