The Imaginary Superbus Art Event and Contest brought kids together to make art and poetry as a way to boost public transit use.

The idea came from the winning submission to the Chair Your Idea competition last year. Chair Your Idea challenged Winnipeggers to pitch their urban design ideas.

Haeyoung (Grace) Kwon, a student at the University of Manitoba, submitted the winning idea. She said in her home city of Seoul, South Korea buses have pictures of characters printed on them to entertain kids.

“So I got the idea from there, oh that’s kind of interesting,” she said.

Rather than using pre-existing characters, though, she wanted to use art made by kids, which she hopes will encourage them to want to take the bus.

“I hope the kids say, ‘Mom, I want to take this bus because my drawing is on there,’ or ‘Mom I want to take this bus because this bus is pretty interesting.”

Caroline Inglis, a co-ordinator with Chair Your Idea, said a nine-member panel of architects and civic leaders chose the winning entry. She said the panelists liked that Kwon’s submission brought together youth engagement, public transportation and civic participation.

“So hopefully seeing their own art on the buses will encourage kids and parents to want to take the bus,” she said.

The Chair Your Idea event raised $10,000, which will be used to print the images on the buses. Kwon also received a $1,000 prize for her winning idea, donated by the Manitoba Association of Architects.

A committee of transit representatives will choose the winner of the Imaginary Superbus Art Event and Contest. It will be printed on the outside of Downtown Flyer buses, and 10 runner-ups will be printed on the inside banners.

The pictures will be displayed until the end of September.