I recently entered The Vegan Bus in a contest to try to win a $5000 grant to have solar panels put on the bus. The contest was sponsored by the Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network which

is a formalization of many informal networks of sustainability experts in the area which acts as a vehicle to bridge the gap between practitioners and researchers in the area of sustainable development, with an initial emphasis on sustainable land use and energy use.

The contest was for art that has a sustainable theme…

what does sustainability in the Pioneer Valley look like, sound like, feel like? How can it be represented? Is it best articulated through a device, or through dance, music, film, sculpture, or two-dimensional design?

My proposal concerned the Vegan Bus being an artwork in process, and the addition of solar technology would enable us to educate about that technology all over the Pioneer Valley. According to myself…

I believe it will take vast acts of imagination to transform our civilizations to conscious and sustainable ones. It is the mission of the artist to help people transcend their traditions and evolutionary inertias. The concept of The Vegan Bus came to me when I had the epiphany that I was dreaming too small. I realized that the world needed a vehicle of transformation. An artistic statement on wheels that would attract people by its very nature and leave them with something to think about. An artwork they could admire from the outside, or climb aboard and engage. Added to that a group of performers and activists to convey the Sustainable Message in a variety of ways.

Out of 20 entries I was chosen as one of the semi-finalists, which meant I had to go give a 10 minute talk about the work and answer questions from the 10 “celebrity judges”. These included John Majercak from the Center for Ecological Technology (CET) and the ReStore, Monte Belmonte from the River and Hillary Price, the cartoonist of Rhymes with Orange fame. The event was held at the Academy of Music. I was the third to present and got a little stage fright once the bright lights hit my eyes, but overall I did a fair job at stating my case and was the only artist to garner applause for one of my comments (about artists collaborating on sustainability projects).

I did not end up winning although I did get insider info that I was one of the top three that the judges ended up choosing between. The artist who won was Jane Beatrice Wegscheider with her project “A Table Set Forever“. That was one of my favorite entries, along with an ambitious project by an 18 year old young man named RJ Magoon.

This project has really helped me to focus my thoughts a bit, as well as getting a better understanding of what we will need to do to install solar photovoltaics on the bus. I am ready to do some grant writing and soliciting of sponsorships! I am really happy this opportunity came along and that artists are thinking about sustainability issues.

Check out The Vegan Bus Solar Installation proposal on the PV Sustain web site.