Since I was born in New York, I'm a native New Yorker (although I've lived in Utah most of my life). I still love traveling back to the Big Apple to see friends and family, get tickets to a Broadway show, visit a museum and, of course, track down a dirty water dog or a chewy bagel dog. I'll hop in a Yellow Cab to travel, but I'm also a fan of New York City's subway system. Riding the subways is a visual overload—from the characters sitting or standing beside me to the public art along the tracks and inside the cars.
When I served on the Utah Transit Authority board, I asked why we didn't have more public art on our buses and Frontrunner and TRAX trains. My fellow board members looked back at me like deer caught in headlights. The staff got it and, a few years after my term ended, UTA just announced a friendly competition for students K through 12 to beautify our public transportation.
UTA's first My BeUTAHful Community Student Art Competition is underway, with UTA asking kids to submit visual artwork based on a theme of "Meet Your Neighbor." Participants can express themselves through public art, which will be visible throughout the public transportation system along the Wasatch Front. Plus, it gives riders and the communities served by UTA the opportunity to see the talent residing in northern Utah.
If you have a family member in the K-12 age range who might like to have their art on display in this "moving museum," the deadline to submit their work is March 16. Artists are encouraged to highlight the beauty and diversity of Utah's communities and people. Pieces will be judged in four grade categories: K-second grades, third through sixth grades, seventh through ninth grades and 10th through 12th grades.
Winning artwork will be displayed on UTA buses and trains for a year starting in April. Winners receive a $50 gift card, while the overall Best in Show winner will receive a $100 gift card as well as the opportunity for that artist's friends, family and community to see their creation displayed prominently within the public transportation system.
All participants will also be entered to win a drawing for a one-day UTA family pass, although I personally think all participants should get a one-day pass just for entering!
Not only is this a fun project for aspiring young artists, it's a way for us to appreciate our local talent. UTA will accept 2-D artwork made with paint, pencils, colored pencils, markers, digital programs, pastels and ink. While each entry should express the "Meet Your Neighbor" theme, the pieces don't have to include any rendering of public transportation. For more entry info, visit rideuta.com/art or drop submissions off at UTA, c/o Megan Waters: 669 W. 200 South, SLC.An earlier version of this story had an incorrect web address listed for the contest, which has now been corrected.