BFK’s Public Bike Art

In 2022 we will be encouraging public art through the creation and celebration of public murals expressing the joys of bicycling. Unlike our competitions in 2019-2021*, in 2022 this effort will not be a competition. Instead, artists will be invited to submit proposals whose ideas will be judged on their suitability for implementation.

Think of our effort as an ongoing “bike mural festival” of sorts, due to our aim to bring about as many public murals as the community can support — that express the joys of bicycling — throughout greater Kalamazoo. The community building activities that may surround their creation, some of which will feel like an exciting and festive occasion indeed. 

The muralists and their work will be recognized during our Fall Bike Celebration Weekend.  We continue to spread the joy of bicycling far and wide in expressions of public art!  Please click here for our January 13 Media Release.

Read on to learn more about the general process we will be following, about our Bike Art Committee and for additional context.

Process Outline
Bike Friendly Kalamazoo’s Bike Art Committee and BFK’s Directors will be following these general steps to surface the location and recommendation of sites for the public murals, and discussions with property owners who would like to take advantage of this unique opportunity to build community and further enrich our culture.

  1. Informal communication of potential sites to our Bike Art Committee. Our eyes and ears are open! BFK Bike Art Committee may start these discussions, site owners may approach BFK, or someone from the greater community may suggest ideas.
  2. Informal discussion with site owners. A BFK Bike Art Committee member may start these discussions with a site owner or site owners may approach BFK. Either way is fine!
  3. Site owner confirms initial interest in principle via written intent conveyed to BFK’s Bike Art Committee in a letter or via email. This informal initial statement need only: a) relay owner contact information and the property address; b) an affirmation of ownership; and, c) quantify the owner’s financial contribution to the project, if applicable.
  4. BFK’s Bike Art Committee reviews interest; conveys recommendation to BFK.
  5. Written Agreements & Permissions: BFK will obtain the necessary written agreements with funders, site owners, artists, municipalities and other parties of interest This step will occur in stages, sites are lined up in each year, funding is secured, muralists are engaged, permits applied for, designs are approved, etc.
  6. Implementation, Community Engagement and Celebration. This step will naturally unfold as the mural is created, the community is invited to participate in events surrounding its creation and when the story is told and celebrated in September during BFK’s Fall Bike Celebration!

BFK’s Bike Art Committee
BFK’s Bike Art Committee is chaired by highly respected muralist Patrick Hershberger, who also chairs the Kalamazoo County Public Art Commission. Members of our Bike Art Committee are volunteers from a number of municipalities and experienced muralists. The committee’s work is anticipated to be strategic and ongoing in that opportunities to enrich our community’s culture and enhance our trails and bikeways will stretch on into the future.

Background
Placemaking has been defined as a collaborative process for working together to shape our public realm, strengthening the connection between people and the places they share. Public murals have long been recognized for their ability to enhance public spaces.

Bike Friendly Kalamazoo believes in the power of improving the quality of life and building community through bicycling. In 2022 our Bike Art Committee is focusing on public murals that express the joys of bicycling as part of our ongoing placemaking effort.

We in this together. Over the coming year BFK intends to recognize the communities, sponsors and individuals who are working to make these joyous public expressions a reality. We will also be shining a spotlight on the muralists and completed works of art at key points along the journey.

We announced key milestones during Kalamazoo Area Bike Week 2022 (May 7-14), and will be involving the community as we highlight creation of the murals throughout the spring and summer. The entire effort will culminate with additional recognition during our 2022 Fall Bike Celebration Weekend (September 16-18).

With your help we can bring a little more joy, and a feeling of festive lightness, into our hearts, brightening the corner in which we live.

Please share your ideas for mural sites and funding using the email address at the bottom of this page.

We invite private property owners, municipalities, patrons of public art, civic leaders and all those interested in improving the quality of life in our community — to watch this space for unfolding details.

In the meantime, thank you for everything you are doing to help make our greater community even more bicycle friendly!

Please like and follow our Facebook pages @bikefriendlykalamazoo, @kalamazoobikeweek, @fallbikecelebration, and on the web at www.bikefriendlykalamazoo.org, www.kalamazoobikeweek.org and www.fallbikecelebration.org.

*Historic footnote. In 2019-2021 BFK’s Public Bike Art Competition entries were judged for predetermined first-second-third place cash awards.