21 September 2007

Taxi Flower Power

Taxis have been in the news a lot lately because they keep blowing up. But recently a few of my dear friends have asked me what the deal was with all these taxis with flowers painted all over them; I'm honoured that they asked me. So, I'll try my best to explain what its all about because I don't really get it either. In fact, the whole story is so fucking sweet and sad, it makes me sick.

First time I saw the flowiz, I thought they were actually hand painted on the cab itself alas its actually a decal and there are a few different decals - 6 kinds to be exact. They were all painted by kids from the city’s public schools and hospitals, and a small fraction were painted by children in New Jersey, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Cleveland and Los Angeles.

The whole thing is called "Garden in Transit" and it was put together by a nonprofit group called Portraits of Hope.

The project was intended to provide creative therapy for seriously ill and disabled children, but has expanded to include children and adults participating through schools, after-school programs, hospitals and nonprofit groups.

The cabs aren't the first thing actually, they've decorated blimps, buildings, tugboats, airplanes and race cars; the taxicabs are simply the group’s latest effort. But before this, no one had any idea about this shit.

Bernie Massey, the co-founder of Portraits of Hope, said the flowers were chosen for the project because children everywhere — including the hospital wards the brothers visited — draw them. “It’s the one universal symbol of hope, beauty, life, joy, inspiration,” he said.

Ed Massey, the other founder, came up with the idea 7 years ago in the spring of 2000, and after preliminary meetings with the TLC, Bernie Massey, his older brother, led a team in developing educational and civic engagement elements for the project.

The taxi commission and Bloomberg unanimously agreed to support the project in July 2006.

The cab owners and drivers do not have to pay for the flower patterns, and participation is voluntary. The vinyl flowers do not damage the cabs and are easily removed.

The organisers hoped to get a majority of the city’s 13,000 yellow cabs to participate. Each cab can accommodate two or three panels; each panel has one to five flowers on it. About 27,600 panels have been painted, enough for each cab to have two.

Garden in Transit is a privately financed effort that has included about $1.5 million in cash donations so far.

I dunno, I still don't get it but they're beautiful to look at.


Anonymous said...

I think the point is that kids work together to make a difference. The kids painted the panels that have transformed and beautified the cityscape around them. They can look out on the streets and say, "I did that!"

Gotham City Insider said...

You're right. HOLLA!