The average commuter bus boasts about 300 horsepower. AcrobatAnt, a Tulsa advertising firm, and the Tulsa Transit Authority are betting that Tulsa’s art scene has at least as much horsepower, and they’ve produced an unusual contest to prove it.

The winners of Art In Transit were announced in early January. The contest hopes to highlight Tulsa’s vibrant art scene, boost ridership on city buses and beautify the city.

Randy Riggs, this year’s champion, will see his entry wrapped on a bus for a year. Other winners will see their submitted pieces at bus stops and shelters around town. The winning works will begin rolling out in 2014.

“Tulsa is a city that actively supports artists. We’re excited about the art scene here. We want to show it off in a big way,” says Audrey Chambers of AcrobatAnt. “We didn’t want to set a theme or a limit to anything because we wanted people to submit whatever moved them. We didn’t want to limit ourselves or the artists. We simply wanted people to express their appreciation for the arts.”

The contest may become an annual event, with more winners – and wrapped buses – in 2015.

An artist could hardly ask for a better venue; Mike Lemery, general manager of Transit Advertising, estimates that the winning piece will be seen more than four million times.

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