Butterflies fluttering through the Mission, mice nibbling their way down Sansome, pelicans gliding up Geary. Starting today and tomorrow, four MUNI buses will make a splash with Endangered Species, an art project that has redesigned buses with photographic murals of endangered or threatened species who live around San Francisco.
Endangered Species is the brainchild of designer Todd Gilens and a project of the nonprofit incubator Community Initiatives, with help from Bay Nature Institute.
The project was born after Gilens learned of the MUNI’s “Transit Effectiveness Project” measuring maintenance, driving efficiencies, ridership, etc. “But,” says Gilens, “no one was discussing the way buses contribute to public life or what their wider impacts are. And we’re so used to being assaulted by advertising,” he says. “I hope these images will be gentle, wonderful surprises, and from there we might start to ask: ‘How can our environments be more lively, more supportive, more humane?'”
In our January-March 2010 issue, Bay Nature featured a center spread on Endangered Species, with lifelike digital renderings of San Francisco MUNI buses covered with larger-than-life images of local threatened or endangered species. We also created the web presence for the project, which includes feeds from Flickr, Twitter, and a live bus location tracker.
Spot the buses and post a pic and you could win a $10 Clipper transit card, a subscription to Bay Nature, or other prizes.