Westley Kern, marketing coordinator for Charlottesville Area Transit, steps out of the CAT City Art Bus for 2018. Credit: Credit: Josh Mandell/Charlottesville Tomorrow

The fantastical beings of Sam Gray’s imagination will soon become familiar faces for Charlottesville residents. 

The Tom Tom Founders Festival and Charlottesville Area Transit on Wednesday introduced Gray’s illustration, “Nature,” as one of the winners of the 2018 City Art Bus competition. The “moving mural” was wrapped around a CAT bus on March 20 and made its first appearance at the Downtown Transit Station this week.

“The City Art Bus is such a unique opportunity to get your artwork on a bus that is seen and appreciated by hundreds of thousands of people each year,” said Tom Tom Founders Festival Director Paul Beyer.

Gray said her colorful design is influenced by Victorian Era holiday cards, which often featured anthropomorphized animals and mythical woodland creatures.

This year the JAUNT paratransit service also participated in the City Art Bus program. Andrew Stronge’s “Outerspace” design was chosen to decorate a JAUNT bus. 

The contest winners were chosen by online voters and by drivers for CAT and JAUNT. The new City Art Buses will begin regular service in early April.

The seventh annual Tom Tom Founders Festival will take place April 9-15 in Charlottesville. 


Josh Mandell

Josh Mandell graduated from Yale in 2016 and has been recognized by the Virginia Press Association with five awards for education writing, health, science and environmental writing and multimedia reporting.