South Tryon Bus Facility Photography Project
Honoring Maintenance and Bus Operations Work, exhibit theme
Twenty-five photographs, 16 x 20 and 18 x 23
CATS opened its South Tryon Bus Facility in 2005 providing a new bus maintenance facility, a paint and body shop, a wash and fuel building, a parking garage, and surface parking for 250 buses. However, the walls inside this huge facility were unadorned.
Alice Adams and Marek Ranis, the design team artists for the facility, early on proposed a photography project for the interior walls, referencing the main function of the facility.
Employee participation was a guiding principle in the development of a permanent photography collection for the bus maintenance facility. Over 100 responses to a staff survey indicated that bus operations employees overwhelmingly supported the inclusion of imagery that honors their profession. That survey steered the decisions of an employee art committee and determined the type of photography, theme, and content that would appear in the exhibit. Collaborating with professionals from The Light Factory, a local non-profit arts center dedicated to photography and film, the employee art committee reviewed twelve portfolios of local artists, ultimately selecting four Charlotte photographers to document the theme "honoring maintenance and bus operations work."
The four photographers demonstrated an innate ability to identify with a community, a place, or an individual. Byron Baldwin, a retired photography educator from Myers Park High School, has photographed professionally for more than 30 years and is a founding member of The Light Factory. Gary O'Brien is a staff photographer for the Charlotte Observer with over 25 years in photojournalism covering assignments in the US and abroad. Lee Stewart is known for his use of alternative photographic processes and also partners with ArtsTeach to educate students in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Crista Cammaroto, an artist and educator, currently serves as artistic director of The Light Factory, the only non-profit center for photography and film in the Carolinas and Virginia.
From a pool of new images produced by the photographers, the committee selected twenty-five works for framing and installation. The images offer portraits of the day-to-day operations of the facility and its employees.