Kulshan Trash can at Lakeway Center WTA bus stop

Last school year, Kulshan Middle School art students contributed their talents to a public art project for the Whatcom Transportation Association (WTA.)

Art teacher Gretchen Leggitt says that she approached the WTA to see if there was a possibility of bringing student art out into the community. As she puts it, she wanted to “empower our young artists and to show them how their art can positively impact a space.”

Leggitt worked with Maureen McCarthy, the community relations and marketing manager at the WTA, who embraced the idea.  The collaboration began when the WTA donated three trash can barrels to Fairhaven and Kulshan middle schools and to Bellingham High School.

Leggitt’s art students at Kulshan decided to use the ‘buzz and energy of the streets’ as inspiration, and each student contributed to the can with symbolic figures painted in the style of the pop artist Keith Haring. The students worked on the can outside of class, before school and during the lunch hour. The trashcan was installed recently at the Lakeway Center WTA bus stop, a stop that most Kulshan students ride past almost every day.

McCarthy and the WTA were pleased with the many outcomes of the finished trash can.

“We’re intrigued and impressed by the symbolism and imagery the students unleashed on this ‘canvas.’ And we couldn’t be happier to share their art with our riders and the community,” she says.

Stay tuned for more student art displays thanks to the WTA collaboration, this time actually on the buses! The middle and high school art teachers have been collaborating with the WTA to hang panels on buses in the coming months.

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