Boys and girls turn B-cycles into art
By Nora Hertel | Mon, 07/30/2012 - 8:17am
“There’s not a real market for B-cycles,” Hurley said. “If someone’s going to buy a bike they’ll probably prefer something a bit lighter so they can take a longer ride.”
So last year Hurley and partners at Dreambikes came up with a plan for eleven spare B-cycles and frames. Instead of looking for new homes for the bikes, they created the Art Bikes program to breathe new life into the bikes and give back to the community. They enlisted young artists from the Boys and Girls Club and charged them with rejuvenating the bikes’ look.
In June, fifteen boys and girls, ages nine to eleven revived the bikes with a creative coat of paint. They painted them in vibrant colors with rainbows, hearts, and tiger stripes that will stand out against the red bikes on the rack.
“[The kids] were really excited to be picked to do this project,” said Stephanie Berto, youth manager for Madison Boys and Girls Club. “When they saw [the bike frames they painted] all put together at the bike ride, I think they were really in awe of them.”
The bicycles were showcased at the tenth annual Bike for Boys and Girls Club Ride on July 21, which raised over $300,000 for the Club. The event included 8, 25, and 50 mile bike rides as well as an after party. Some of the kids rode the bikes they decorated.
“Then there were people from the community looking [at the bikes] and congratulating [the kids] on doing a great job,” said Berto. “Some of the families came out too. For the families to see what they’ve been doing was really neat as well.”
A lot of the kids talked about going out with their families to track down their art bikes, Berto added.
The artists received 24-hour passes from Madison B-cycle, and Berto said “a lot of the families were excited about trying to be healthy and be active as a family, and also to ride the bikes that were decorated.”
A grant from the Capital Time Kids Fund covered the cost of the paint and reassembly at DreamBikes, and Trek weather-proofed the bikes for free.
Beginning in August the Art Bikes will circulate among the 240 B-cycles in Madison.
They will continue to serve as a fundraiser for the Club, as Metcalfe’s will donate a dollar for every ride on an Art Bike in August. Hurley is confident that the art bikes will get extra use because they’re eye catching.
The bikes will remain in circulation until B-cycle use declines for the season, around October. B-cycle will find new homes to display the Art Bikes when they aren’t in use at locations such as Metcalfe’s, Dreambikes, Trek stores, museums, and other destinations around town. They hope to do the project again next year.
The kids at Boys and Girls Club are already onto their next art project, Berto said. Rather than bike frames, they will soon paint picture frames at their club locations. This new project comes from the Madison community art advocacy group Geswerk. The frames will be part of Geswerk’s Windows to Worlds 2 project, displayed at Edgewood College in September.
“It’s a great fit for our kids,” said Berto about Art Bikes, “for them to have their artwork displayed in the community and to feel proud of that.”
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