‘My jaw dropped’: Hamilton murals now decorate Butler County RTA buses

Hamilton’s StreetSpark murals now have literally taken to the streets, decorating three Butler County Regional Transit Authority buses.

When Taylor Stone-Welch’s large mural, “Taking Flight,” appeared in Hamilton above the small Rotary Park a few years ago, the image of a person releasing paper birds into the air beautified the side of a parking garage and the park itself.

That image and others will be rolling across Butler County, most often along a route between Hamilton and Oxford, but sometimes in Middletown and other parts of the county, said Matthew Dutkevicz, the authority’s executive director.

Stone-Welch enjoyed seeing his artwork, which salutes Hamilton’s paper-making past, find greater visibility.

“I designed it a few years ago, so it’s really cool to see it take this second life on this bus,” he said. “I can’t wait to run across it in the wild, on my own.”

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Dutkevicz said the 5-year-old buses needed to be rewrapped anyway, and the artworks were a splashier way to get attention for the buses, at a cost of around $2,000 per bus.

“We don’t get a lot of attention as the regional transit authority,” Dutkevicz said. “I think a lot of people don’t know we’re here. So we were kind of looking for a way to engage with the community and get noticed.”

The other murals adorning buses are “Inspiring the Future” by Jamie Schorsch; and “Incrementum” by Paul Loehle.

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The wraps, which should last about 5 years, are about 10 feet tall and 35 feet long. Thommy Long’s LemonGrenade Creative did the complicated work of making sure the images fit the vehicles well.

“We called it StreetSpark, but we never knew it would hit the streets like this,” said Ian MacKenzie-Thurley, executive director of the Fitton Center for Creative Arts, which has a partnership with Hamilton’s city government and the Hamilton Community Foundation to create the murals. He was pleased the BCRTA had the idea for the decorations.

“They rolled in, and my jaw dropped,” he said.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

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