Art on the Move: WRTA Unveils Contest Winners

BOARDMAN, Ohio – As a person with Parkinson’s disease, Ron Moore said he knows firsthand the importance of local transportation services. 

Moore said he particularly understands the impact services like the Western Reserve Transit Authority have in providing transportation to those who may otherwise be unable to make their medical appointments.  

He is one of nine Mahoning Valley artists selected as contest winners for this year’s WRTA Art on the Move campaign. The winners’ artwork, which is displayed on a mural on the side of a WRTA bus, was unveiled during a campaign kickoff event Thursday morning at DeBartolo Commons at Southern Park Mall. 

Moore’s artwork depicts a WRTA driver who retired a couple of weeks ago. 

“I wanted to capture this gentleman because you never know what kind of a day the passenger might have,” he said. “When they step on that bus, that might be the only smile they see all day. That may be the only smile that convinces them life is worth moving on.” 

The campaign highlights artwork depicting positive images of people using or benefitting from public transportation in the Mahoning Valley. All the winning submissions included the WRTA bus or logo with its local significance.

Along with Moore, the winning artists are Gary Balog, Nicholas Begnaud, Kendra Blake, Michael Flood, Daniel Madeline, Laura Marciella, Gabriel Pagan and Leah Sydney. 

Dean Harris, executive director of the WRTA, said the nine pieces of art were selected from more than 80 submissions. 

“This is our first time doing this campaign for this event,” he said. 

Harris said there may be more of these events in the future, funding permitting. 

“We’d like to continue this,” he said. “It was very successful. We got some great artwork that was submitted.”

Three co-chairpersons selected the winners, Harris said. They are Joyce Mistovich, director of education for The Butler Institute of American Art; Kevin Willis, principal architect for Strollo Architects; and Patrick McGlone, mural artist and owner of the Overall Paint Co.

Dean Harris, executive director of the Western Reserve Transit Authority, said the Art on the Move campaign “was very successful.”

“A lot of pieces beautifully displayed the buses and the infrastructure that is WRTA,” McGlone said. “Something that is really important about the WRTA is that it’s local, and it’s people caring about people.”

Each judge selected three pieces.

“We wanted it to be transit related, but we really didn’t limit them that much,” McGlone said. “We gave them ideas, and then they ran with it.”

Art on the Move is just one of WRTA’s many campaigns.

“We have done multiple different campaigns in different towns,” Harris said. “We have done business; we have done schools; [and] we have done nonprofits. This we thought of because we wanted to showcase the artwork. We have many great artists in the area.”

Winners were each given $100 gift cards and a plaque featuring their artwork, which will also be highlighted in TV spots, social media and on the digital display at Federal Station downtown.

“The importance is to showcase the artist and give the community a chance to see what they can do,” Harris said. “It showcases their vision of the area.”

Pictured at top: From left are Michael Flood, Nicholas Begnaud, Daniel Madeline, Gabriel Pagan, Laura Marciella, Kendra Blake, Leah Sydney, Gary Balog and Ron Moore.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.