What’s now known as ‘The People’s Bus,’ wasn’t always a cultural hub for art, culture, and community engagement. In fact, from 2009-2021, it was actually used to transport detained people on Riker’s Island.
That is until the NYC Civic Engagement Commission (CEC), in partnership with the Department of Cultural Affairs and the Public Artist in Residency program, had the idea to transform it into something that could “[engage] people in NYC’s civic life through beauty and joy,” while sharing the powerful work being done by the CEC.
Community groups, artists, and cultural producers aided artist Yazmany Arboleda in painting and decorating the former correction bus, giving it a new life as a community center on wheels. The project quickly became a symbol of hope and connection.
“The People’s Bus is a gymnasium for the human imagination. A place to exercise our creativity together to imagine a future where all New Yorkers take care of each other,” said Yazmany Arboleda, The People’s Artist.
But in efforts to continue the project’s mission of creating a more equitable city, the CEC took their idea one step further. Now, the mobile community center has been converted into a large scale puppet designed to teach New Yorkers about NYC’s first citywide participatory budgeting process, known as ‘The People’s Money.’
Educational character, Tippy: “The Tender People’s Money Monster,” will tour the boroughs to spread knowledge about the new Participatory Budgeting process and celebrate participatory democracy. As it makes stops across the city, New Yorkers will be able to vote on how they want the city’s $5 million to be spent, letting communities decide where the funds will benefit them most.
Beyond its kooky and colorful exterior, Tippy’s interior is made with 8.8 million recycled beads donated by Materials for the Arts to represent NYC’s 8.8 million residents.
The far-reaching art project hopes to bridge the gap between citizens and their local government by changing the way it serves its people.
You can meet Tippy and make your vote at one of the following locations below:
What: Queens Night Market
When: June 3rd – 5-10 PM
Where: Flushing Meadows Park
What: Fatherhood & Family Fun Day
When: June 10th – 11AM – 3PM
Where: Clove Lakes Park
What: Museum Mile Festival
When: June 13th – 6-9PM
Where: Fifth Avenue from 82nd to 105th Street
What: BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn!
When: June 15th – 6-10PM
Where: Prospect Park Bandshell
To learn more about The People’s Bus and its mission, see here.