Muni Art Contest Winners Announced, Art to be Displayed on More Buses

An example of "City Walks" by Counterpoint Studio (Photo: Courtesy of San Francisco Beautiful)

Community-focused non-profit San Francisco Beautiful announced the winners of its second annual Muni Art contest last week, adding that the winners will receive more exposure than last year as the number of buses that will display their work has doubled, from 50 to 100.

Out of 53 applicants, a panel of notable figures whittled it down to 10 contestants, and the five winners were chosen by the public through online voting last month. Those winners were:

  • Monica Tiulescu
  • Lillian Shanahan
  • Luis Pinto
  • Counterpoint Studio
  • Todd Kurnat

Tiulescu won the most votes, 606, and her first place prize included $2,000. The other four winners will receive $1,250 each.

Each winner will have two months to create eight panels to be displayed in 20 buses. They will be exhibited starting in January of next year and will be taken down by that April.

Besides the prize money and the opportunity to expose their work to hundreds of thousands of Muni riders, the contest has had provided other benefits to its winners.


"Last year the first place grand prize winner Ariel Dunitz-Johnson had her art on a bus, and somebody high up at Gap was on her bus. A few week later, she actually got a contract with Gap, doing some pen-and-ink illustrations for them," Peter Clarke, communications manager for San Francisco Beautiful, said. "There were a few different stories like that."

"That is exactly the effect we wanted," Darcy Brown, executive director for San Francisco Beautiful, said. "We wanted these artists to catch a break, and how bigger of a break can you have than getting their work in front of 700,000 people everyday."

The program has also proven to be so popular that in order to get Muni to increase the number of buses that carry the art, all Brown had to do was ask.

"We've heard from so many people in the city that would tell us, 'It's so cool to get on a bus that's a gallery!" Brown said.

Started in 1947, San Francisco Beautiful's mission is to "create and protect the unique beauty and livability of San Francisco." Along with current projects such as Muni Art and improvement work in various neighborhoods, the organization is also credited with saving San Francisco's cable car system, launching the first citywide tree planting program and legalizing sidewalk seating.

Here are five images from the proposals of the winners of the 2016 Muni Art contest. To read their statements, click here: