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WAITING FOR THE BUS INSIDE A GIANT SCULPTURE IN BALTIMORE
Baltimore, MD – Creative Alliance and Southeast Community Development Corporation in conjunction with the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, the European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC), and SPAIN arts & culture, announces the installation of a permanent public art project that includes three large sculptures that form the letters BUS. Each letter stands 14 feet tall and 7 feet wide. This conceptual sculpture and bus stop was created by the Spanish collaborative mmmm… as part of the initiative TRANSIT – Creative Placemaking with Europe in Baltimore.

This is the second United States installation created by the Spanish artist collective mmmm… In 2011 mmmm… built the Meeting Bowls in Times Square in New York City. This project was comprised of large objects shaped like bowls that provided seating to accommodate eight people. The temporary and playful urban furniture was designed to promote interaction by having those seated inside the bowls face one another. The bowls were a social place for gathering, getting to know people, and fostering dialogue in small groups. During the time the Meeting Bowls were installed in Times Square, approximately 20,000,000 pedestrians saw them, and tens of thousands took photographs. Many stories appeared in the media regarding the Meeting Bowls, including a humorous commentary by David Letterman on the Late Show.

BUS clearly functions as bus stop on S. East Street in Highlandtown, right next to the Creative Alliance. The artists mmmm… wanted to create a place for the community to enjoy, interact, and meet while waiting for the bus. Their mission was to transform the dull experience of waiting for the bus to an entertaining, leisurely space in the middle of the hectic rhythm of the city.
BUS is made with wood and steel, materials that are typically used to build urban furniture. The three letters of BUS allow passengers to assume different postures of sitting or standing while waiting for the bus. Each letter has its own distinct personality. The specific modifications were designed to be geometric letters that maximize functionality; for example, the S allows passengers to lie back while they wait, and the B provides handicap-accessible shelter from the wind and rain.
The bus stop is manufactured in a way that is similar to the construction of conventional street benches. The planks of wood are screwed to a resistant steel structure that supports weight and prevents vandalism. As in a conventional bench, the use of planks allows the sculptures to achieve a curved geometric profile that enables passengers to assume comfortable positions. The letters are big enough to accommodate two to four people each and protect them from rain, sun, wind, and inclement weather.
"Creative Alliance is extremely fortunate and honored to have mmmm..., a group of prominent visiting artists from Spain, bring their creativity and playful sculptural art to our community here in Highlandtown," said Gina Caruso, Managing Director at Creative Alliance, who has been working closely on the project. "Passengers will actually become part of the art as they wait for the bus. It’s wonderful."
"The size, shape, and function of BUS, can make this unique bus stop a reference sculpture for Highlandtown neighborhood and the city of Baltimore. BUS can become an iconic urban meeting point," said Ciro Márquez of mmmm… "A bus stop you will never miss."
(updated on 1st August 2016)