New electric buses added to Lawrence fleet, featuring designs from local Indigenous artist

photo by: Lawrence Transit

Two new electric buses added to the Lawrence Transit fleet feature designs from local Indigenous artist Iris Cliff.

The bus service for the City of Lawrence and the University of Kansas has added two more electric buses to its fleet, featuring designs from Indigenous artist Iris Cliff.

In a news release Thursday, Lawrence Transit announced that the two new buses are the sixth and seventh to be added to its zero-emission fleet through the federal “Low- or No-Emission” grant program. According to the release, nearly a quarter of the total fleet will be made up of electric buses once Lawrence Transit receives four more electric buses in 2025.

Cliff is an Assiniboine and Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa illustrator based in Lawrence. Cliff worked with transit staff in 2023 to create the designs. Each bus will feature 13 graphics that capture symbols and architecture found in Lawrence and across Kansas.

A few designs — like the Haskell Arch, a World War I memorial; Apache Hoop and Pole Game Dancer, a bronze sculpture by Craig Goseyun; and the Haskell Medicine Wheel earthwork — highlight features on or near the Haskell Indian Nations University campus. There are also designs like the Water Bird, a Southwest and plains Native American symbol of renewal of life and wisdom, and geometric stars that celebrate Native cultures across the state.

The KU campus is highlighted with the inclusion of a silhouette of the Campanile, the World War II memorial on campus. Another group of elements recognize iconic features of the City of Lawrence: Locomotive No. 1073 at Watson Park, South Park’s William Kelly Bandstand and representations of the bricks found in historic areas of the city.

Other designs feature the state seal, an outline of Kansas with a heart shape indicating the location of Lawrence, wild flowers representing the state’s wetlands and prairies, and monarch butterflies, which pass through Kansas each year on their migration route to Mexico.

Cliff’s works are also featured at two Lawrence Transit bus stops, located at Massachusetts and 17th streets and at Locust and North Third streets.


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