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Museum In The Driver's Seat

July 24, 2005

Great art moves people. Great ART does, too. ART - Atheneum Rapid Transit - is a free shuttle bus that transports folks back and forth between the Morgan Street Garage and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art.

The bus is beautiful not only in thought, but in deed, too. The typography on its immaculate white sides is just about perfect: bold, legible and appropriately scaled to both the size of the bus and the other design elements on it, including the museum's logo. Each of the letters in the acronym fits nicely into a bus window, providing privacy on the inside as well as color on the street side.

But the shuttle is a winner for more than its looks. It's a creative, environmentally sound answer to a serious problem.

When construction at Adriaen's Landing exacerbated an already-serious parking shortage, the Atheneum did the smart thing: It asked for help moving its visitors from the downtown public parking garage to the museum's doors.

St. Paul Travelers heard the plea; the company has donated $254,000 to keep the shuttle service going for three years.

ART, which makes a continuous loop between the two destinations, picks up and drops off passengers about every half-hour throughout the day, making it a painless way for out-of-town visitors to see the nation's oldest art museum. A video playing inside the 18-passenger Ford mini-van greets visitors with a virtual tour of the Atheneum's offerings and a message from director Willard Holmes.

It's an enlightened approach to a growing dilemma in our car-happy land. A nod of the beret to the Atheneum, St. Paul Travelers and Cronin & Co., who came up with both the name and the beautiful graphic design.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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