Art in Transit

The Project

The City Line is a bus-rapid transit route with electric buses that will run east-west from Browne’s Addition to Spokane Community College beginning in 2023 and operated by the Spokane Transit Authority (STA). The new route will create 30+ new bus stations designed by STA. The City Line project is funded by a federal transportation grant and supported by state and local dollars. STA partnered with Spokane Arts to lead the process of gathering community input, hosting an open call for artists and designers, creating neighborhood-based interview panels to jury the applicants, helping those neighborhood panels select their preferred designer, and then working collaboratively to shape the final designs. Complete information about the City Line project can be found on STA’s project website. The City Line project website contains the latest updates, images, contact information, and an interactive map.

Meet the Artists behind the project:

Joshua Thomas: Symphony Station

Joshua Thomas is the owner and operator of Lejit Designs, a graphic design studio specializing in branding, illustration, and murals. Josh loves basketball, video games, anime, and reading.

He lives with his wife Kasey and their weenie-dog Bennie out in Liberty Lake.

Artist Statement:

“Public art is such an important part of any city’s DNA. For the symphony stations I created a design that embodied not only the area surrounding the stations but also added to the comprehensive story that the city of Spokane is telling. 

I believe that the Symphony district really leans into this idea of inclusion as well as a diversity of creative expression. I loved the idea of representing so many different creative mediums in one visual language, so when it came time to design the content for the stations I began trying to find ways to represent key forms of creative expression with fun simple shape language and pops of color. I truly wanted to find a way to combine the incredible history of the symphony district with the modern breadth of creativity that has been fostered in it over the years.

By showcasing some of the inspiring historical artists, creatives, musicians, and groups from Spokane on the art rail panels at the stations I was able to give a nod to Spokane’s awesome creative past.”

Thank you to the community stakeholders who volunteered to give multiple rounds of design input on the Symphony stations: Jeff Vom Saal, Miguel Gonzales, Brian Ritter, Pia Hallenberg, and Jim Kolva. 

The design is so energetic. He has captured so much energy and diversity. Fantastic color palette.
— Pia Hallenberg, Riverside Neighborhood Council

Mariah Boyle: West End

Mariah received her BA from Eastern Oregon University and her MFA from Washington State University in 2012. Primarily a drawer, she uses a variety of materials in her works where she explores themes in relation to place and reactions to specific landscapes.

Mariah is from the Inland Northwest and is a faculty member at Spokane Falls Community College. She is also part of the regional art collective, Saranac Art Projects, in Spokane, Washington.

Artist Statement:

“The West End neighborhood of Spokane is known for its automotive, train, and industrial history. It is also home to a new public plaza and public sculpture gates by artist Susan Zoccola. Inspired by the history of the area and considering the vibrant, welcoming feeling of the new sculptures, my design merges these inspirations together in a series of abstract, “exploding” wheel designs for the West End Stations. 

I love transportation and cars; researching pieces of cars, old and new, was an exciting task. I even called my mechanic to ask him a variety of questions about the inner workings of vehicles, but I eventually settled on our most recognizable form, the wheel. At each station you will see designs based on a variety of vehicle wheel structures from our past and present, the shapes and forms flying in front of and behind each other.

To make the designs, I photographed at least one hundred different wheels for inspiration, and made rubbings of a variety of tire treads to get the shapes that I was looking for before hand-drawing the designs and then finishing them digitally. 

I wanted to embody the excitement of the future meetings that will happen in the plaza, and suggest the excitement of riding public transit from place to place on the new STA City Line.” 

Thank you to the community stakeholders who volunteered to give multiple rounds of design input on the West End stations: Bill Powers, Matt Bogue, Pia Hallenberg, Jim Kolva, Jordan Tampien.

The vibrancy and exuberance of Mariah’s work aligns well with the district.
— Jim Kolva, West End Resident & business owner

Kate J. Reed: Browne’s Addition

Kate J. Reed works under the moniker Party Krill, which is also the name of her recyclable paper goods business. She is an illustrator and pattern designer working in her dimly lit basement with the thump of her kids’, husband’s, and cat’s feet above her. 

When not painting/drawing/designing/fulfilling orders, Kate enjoys taking on house projects that are a little out of her comfort zone. You can find her work locally at Wishing Tree Books and From Here.

Artist Statement:

“Browne’s Addition is a mashup of architectural styles, of business and residential, of nature and man-made structures, of new and old. I wanted my designs to reflect this eclecticism— the possibility and aliveness born out of these juxtapositions.

The challenge was to create artwork that reflects the historic elements of the neighborhood while honoring its youthful nature, all while keeping the stations cohesive. The frames are inspired by the many styles you’ll find in Browne’s Addition. You will see influences from the Patsy Clark Mansion, Coeur d’Alene Park Gazebo, The Campbell House, The Fotheringham House, and from various wrought-iron fences and other architectural details in the neighborhood. The designs are color-blocked in a style reminiscent of arts and crafts stained-glass windows and honor the vibrancy of the healthy LGBTQ+ community in Browne’s Addition.”

Thank you to the community stakeholders who volunteered to give multiple rounds of design input on the Browne’s Addition stations: Madison Bush, Rick & Julie Biggerstaff, Joan Menzies, Mary Lou Sproul and many others!

Ellen Picken: City Center

Ellen Picken has been painting large scale murals since 2014. Her work can be found from Seattle to New York. When she’s not 30 feet up a wall, she hangs out with the neighbors, paints in her home studio, and runs Factory Town with her partner Rajah Bose.

Artist Statement:

“Spokane is a city that loves its history yet faces the future. Our beautiful brick buildings will always be beautiful. They provide a comfort and pride in work well executed that was meant to benefit people generations ahead. The brick-like lines in my design reflect this. At the same time, each new generation wants to make this city their own. They too want to find out what it means to build something lasting. The New must constantly be integrated into The Old if a city is going to really last. This is the colorful s-line curvature flowing through the design.”

Thank you to the community stakeholders who volunteered to give multiple rounds of design input on the Center City downtown stations, including Arthur Jacobs, Elisabeth Hooker, Miguel Gonzales, Owen Turnbull and others.

Absolutely love it! Energy, movement, exudes the vibrancy of life and the creativity that the new City Line system brings to the Spokane area!
— Art Jacobs, Downtown Business Owner

Jiemei Lin: East End

I am an illustrator born in Hangzhou, China, currently living and working in Pullman, WA. I work with both digital media and traditional media such as watercolor, pencil, oil, and mix media. 

My works frequently take on themes of individual and cultural identity with a particular emphasis on design and color. My mission as Illustrator is to represent and communicate with young audiences from underrepresented groups in my own visual language. I believe that everyone deserves to have their story told and that every relationship begins with kindness and love. 

Recently, I have been designing and executing large-scale public murals in the inland Northwest. These murals function like vignettes or moments of stories, inviting the viewer into the scene in order to imagine possible narratives. I have extensive experience in the fields of design, illustration, and have also exhibited my own paintings and prints.

Artist Statement:

“The Melody We Share is a piece that celebrates the diversity of the neighborhood in the east end station. Music is the universal language that brought all of us together. A community member shared has shared the memory of a neighborhood instrument parade with children. I am recreating this moment by adding my imagination and different references to the neighborhood, including historical Chinese and Japanese community.”

Indigo and Blue is a piece that celebrates the history of Old China town in Spokane. I have created the scene of two women from different immigration backgrounds: Chinese, Japanese, & European working together on dyeing indigo fabric: a creative method traveling worldwide and lasting for hundreds of years. This piece is a celebration of creativity, as well as a reminder of women’s power.”

Thank you to the community stakeholders who volunteered to give multiple rounds of design input on the East End stations: Sam Song, Rebecca Mack, John Waite, Ryann Louie, Katy Sheehan and others. 

Jiemei’s work is absolutely beautiful. The colors, the imagery, the community she depicts--speaks to who we are.
— Rebecca Mack, Community Building

Melissa Cole: University District

Melissa Cole was born in Oregon and raised in London, Hong Kong, and India.  She graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in Zoology and worked as a naturalist in Mexico and the Caribbean. It is from these encounters that she derives much of her inspiration for her vividly colored, heavily textured and patterned paintings and mosaic sculptures.  

She’s written over 30 children’s books and travels extensively with her marine photographer husband.  Melissa has spent the last 18 years fully devoted to art.  Her creations are showcased in national galleries, corporate and private collections, aquariums, hospitals and numerous public places.

Artist Statement:

“I wanted my designs to reflect the buzz of ideas, knowledge and excitement that this district of multiple university institutions holds. It is a cutting-edge campus with a focus on technology, health sciences and medicine as well as business, law and education/creative writing.

I was looking for a fun vibe, creative learning potential, diversity of students, and a focus on forward facing motion. These elements are set against the rolling waves of the nearby Spokane River and surrounding natural beauty. I also emphasized the unique architecture of this district.”

Thank you to the community stakeholders who volunteered to give multiple rounds of design input on the University District stations: Eric Smith (WSU), Carlos Hernandez (EWU), John Sklut (Gonzaga), Karen Troxell (Gonzaga), Jim Simons (Gonzaga), Alden Jones (University District) and others. 

Keeley Honeywell: Logan

Keely Honeywell is an artist based in Spokane, WA. She does design and illustration for Scablands Books, and her work has appeared in So To Speak Journal, New Southern Fugitives, and Kansas City Voices.

Artist Statement:

“Representing the Logan neighborhood, these three station designs depict the shared spaces that are accessible to everyone; the beautiful trees that line the streets and fill the park, the river and Witter pool, and the Centennial trail. The colors are bright and varied, inspired by the diverse community.”

Thank you to the community stakeholders who volunteered to give multiple rounds of design input on the Logan stations: Lindsey Shaw, Naghmana Sherazi, Jessica Engelman, and Chuck Horgan.

Danielle Davis: Chief Garry

Danielle Davis is a freelance graphic designer, illustrator and artist. From mural painting to woodworking to sculpture, she is on a mission to try every creative medium at least once. 

When she’s not dabbling in the artistic realm, Danielle is usually barefoot outdoors, spending time with her husband Jon and their three small sons.

Artist Statement:

“The design concept for the Chief Garry station emphasizes the “family-friendly” feel of the area, highlights some of the neighborhood’s most important features, and gives local kids the chance to have their artwork on public display. Among the illustrations on the windscreen panel designs are airplanes from the neighborhood’s Historical Flight Foundation; diverse, friendly waving hands; and nature elements that give a nod to the Centennial trail and Spokane river. The bright, cheerful patterned panels reinforce the friendly and playful feel of the neighborhood and feature overlays of artwork created by local children. The hope is that these design elements will come together to brighten the commuting experience of riders and increase appreciation for the Chief Garry neighborhood.”

Thank you to the community stakeholders who volunteered to give multiple rounds of design input on the Chief Garry stations: Colleen Gardner, Victoria Caswell, Chuck Horgan, and special thanks to all the elementary school students who contributed to the designs, and their wonderful teachers!

I just love it.
— Colleen Gardner, Chief Garry Neighborhood Council

Jason Corcoran: Spokane Community College

Jason Corcoran is a Spokane artist, designer and animator who has spent decades exploring many mediums and tools, both digital and traditional.

He allows the methods of each tool to inform the others. Inspired by the rapidly changing world, our reaction to it, and the endless ways that moments and emotions can be captured, felt, and redistributed, Jason is passionate about seeking out the new discoveries to be found in the culmination of often contradictory ideas and approaches and expanding the original works of art.

Artist Statement:

“The City Line connects neighborhoods on either side of the river, connecting people to each other, to their sources of income, to education and ultimately to their future. 

I used bridges as the symbol of the way that the City Line makes these connections and in the way it is literally and figuratively bridging gaps. The design also acknowledges the iconic cement arched bridges in the area.

The station acts as a destination and a turning point. I wanted the image style to be fun and simple with the houses’ windows subtly becoming characters welcoming you to the station. My hope is that the station art provides a slight mood boost to people about to go into the college or having just finished a hard class or a stressful day.” 

Thank you to the community stakeholders who volunteered to give multiple rounds of design input on the Spokane Community College station, including faculty, staff and students: Teya Kuhle, Stacy Kowtko, Linda Taylor, Amy Kangvanwanich, and Ducati Sandrichian.

The dynamic of the flowing river combined with the movement of the roads, bridges, and neighborhoods very much represents how we (I do, anyways!) feel here at SCC about our place, role, and contributions to our neighborhood, community, and region.
— Stacy Kowtko, Spokane Community College