What happens to a bus when the wheels stop going round and round? Most of the time it ends up in a salvage yard, useful for little more than scrap metal. One such place is Georgia's aptly named School Bus Graveyard. Or is it? Although its name paints one picture, the buses laid to rest here paint a very different one.

Fenced In

In the rural town of Alto, Georgia, auto parts shop owner Alonzo Wade turned his junkyard full of retired buses into an unconventional art gallery. Back in the early 2000s, in response to thieves stealing parts from his junkyard, Wade's son Walter built a fence out of the old buses. The fence worked to deter the thieves and soon inspired yet another great function for the buses — blank canvases for local artists.

In 2012, a local team of artists called Crispy Printz began painting murals on Wade's buses. Every year since, the team has invited a few of Georgia's greatest artists to join them and repaint the buses with brand-new art, maintaining an eclectic and ever-changing gallery of work. The best part? The School Bus Graveyard is open to the public. You can feel free to roam about and take photos of the buses, but it's important to note that the Wade family still lives there. They ask that visitors first stop by their garage to check in and make a donation to Crispy Printz.

Out With the Old, in With the New

Although the School Bus Graveyard is one of few places to see artwork for hundreds of miles, it is not alone in its endeavors. Georgia has a reputation for appreciating the arts. The city of Athens, for example, is known for its creative community, boasting the Georgia Museum of Art and a downtown jam-packed with galleries. Meanwhile, Savannah is home to the famous Savannah College of Art and Design, ranked in 2017 as the number one motion-graphics school in the world.

Understandably, Georgia's big cities lead the the way in the arts, but the small-town, School Bus Graveyard — once just a modest place where buses came to die — serves as a colorful testament to an art culture alive and well throughout the entire state.

For more art in unlikely places, check out "Public Art (Now): Out of Time, Out of Place" by Claire Doherty. We handpick reading recommendations we think you may like. If you choose to make a purchase through that link, Curiosity will get a share of the sale.

School Bus Graveyard

Written by Ashley Gabriel April 10, 2018

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