Art in Transit

Art in Transit logo with several art pieces in the background of each letter

Art in Transit enhances essential mobility solutions in our region that connect communities to opportunity, places, and each other. With the objective of providing vibrancy to public spaces and enriching neighborhoods, CATS commits 1% of design and construction costs to the integration of permanent art into most capital improvement projects, including rail stations, park and rides, bus stops, transportation centers, and maintenance facilities. Public transit is also celebrated through temporary projects and community art programs to further encourage ridership and create an inviting environment for riders and the public. 

Federal Transit Administration Policy Circular 9400.1A encourages the inclusion of art in transit systems:

“The visual quality of the nation’s mass transit systems has a profound impact on transit patrons and the community at large. Good design and art can improve the appearance and safety of a facility, give vibrancy to its public spaces, and make patrons feel welcome.”


Public Art

Public art Header

Since 2002, Art in Transit has integrated art into 23 completed capital improvement projects. Projects include passenger bus shelters, community transit centers, maintenance facilities, park and ride lots, streetcar, and the southeast’s first light rail line.



Programs Header

Public programs are an essential component to the success of CATS Art in Transit. Community participation can result in increased ridership, decreased vandalism, and improved morale. The Art in Transit Program participates in community outreach during design development of art elements, during construction mitigation, and through temporary art projects, programs, and placemaking. 

Bus Wraps

Occasionally CATS invites local high school and college level students to design a bus wrap promoting public transit in Charlotte. There is a unique theme to the design contest, and it is only open to currently enrolled students. A high school and college level winner are chosen by local art professionals and staff, and their designs are wrapped on a 40’ bus for one year. The two winners also receive a $1,000 scholarship. 

2021 Winners

CATS bus wrap designed by Katherine Weekers

Katherine Weekers, William Amos Hough High School

CATS bus wrap designed by Gwen Knutson

Gwen Knutson, Queens University of Charlotte


Ride with the Music

In the fall, CATS partners with JazzArts to bring live music to light rail stations along the LYNX Blue Line. These pop-up performances aim to delight riders and the public with beautiful music heard in an unexpected setting.

Ride with music at 7th street Musician playing with Ride with music


CATS Pass Design Contest

CATS holds an annual contest for artists to design bus passes to be printed on Local, Express, and Express Plus monthly passes for a calendar year. The 2022 winners can be found here.

2022 Winners

CATS pass design winners

Left to Right:
First Place / Scott Partridge – Local Monthly Pass
Second Place / Angela Lubinecky – Express Monthly Pass
Third Place / Jordan Hines – Express Plus Monthly Pass


Placemaking at bus stops can artfully impact stop amenities, such as shelters, benches, or waiting pads. Placemaking opportunities and grants are coordinated with the Urban Design Center and more info can be found at the Placemaking Hub.


placemaking art at a transit stop

Temporary Projects

Temporary art projects are an effective way of providing a collaborative experience between artists and segments of the community.