INWOOD, IOWA (KELO) – Two KELOLAND women are thinking outside the box when it comes to offering a space for creating art.
When you see this bus from the outside decorated with fun shapes and works of art, you may start to wonder what it looks like on the inside.
Take a step in and you’ll see it’s an art studio.
Mercedes Maltese and Marlo Arp teamed up to make this possible. It’s called the 605 Magic Art Bus.
“I thought about it, I chatted about it, and the more I talked about it, the more I was thinking we really need to make this happen, there is nothing like this here and she said ‘I totally agree, let’s do this,'” co-owner of 605 Magic Art Bus LLC, Mercedes Maltese said.
While filled with all the art supplies you can imagine, before the two converted it, it was a standard bus.
“It is a 2001 New Flyer low floor, so it has the low floor with the handicap accessible ramp and it was from Springfield, Missouri, it was their city bus, part of their city bus line,” co-owner 605 Magic Art Bus LLC, Marlo Arp said.
Both women have a passion for art and backgrounds, both being art teachers at one point.
Once they got to work, they realized it might be more of a challenge than they originally thought.
“It was a scary process, there were times when we wanted to stop and rethink what we are doing because we took on a lot, we are two single moms and we made this happen with friends and family and a couple of companies that helped us do our wrap and things like that, but we were a little overwhelmed,” Maltese said.
Last September, they were finally able to open the doors of the bus to the public, and booked their first events in October.
“All of the parties are custom done, so it’s to your music, your colors, your theme, whatever you want to achieve for your party,” Arp said.
“We do custom art projects, anything from print making, to sewing, to clay, to mixed media, painting canvases,” Maltese said.
And not only can projects be done inside the bus, but the bus itself is also a canvas.
“We started brainstorming ideas and we came up with this chalkboard look which has all of the elements of art and all of the tools of art in the background and then we also wanted it to reflect on the outside what we are trying to teach people so we did famous works of art,” Arp said. “Kids are able to come in and use our special markers and color and draw all over the bus, except for the windows, and then we can run through the car wash and wash it off.”
Now that they’re booking events, their next goal is to become a non-profit.
“We think if we could do that, we could reach more of the community to provide free art activities for kids and adults who don’t always have access to art,” Maltese said.
An art experience on wheels.
“That’s what this whole bus is about, it’s about an experience, yes you’re creating art but you also get to be in this cool space, ” Maltese said.
Both say they’re always taking donations to help purchase supplies, as well as an AC unit. You can also donate art supplies.