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Bus Shelter Mural Program

Since 1988, volunteer artists, young and old, from around King County, the U.S. and beyond have painted murals and created photographic artwork for over 3,000 bus shelters, creating one of the largest galleries in King County.

Our Bus Shelter Mural Program is a great example of the hidden benefits of Metro. This project beautifies our neighborhoods, helps deter vandalism and connects communities to public art.

Starting a painted mural project

Follow the steps below. If you have any questions regarding volunteering to paint a mural, call Rose McCracken at 206-477-5817. She'll be happy to help you get started.

  • Choose a bus shelter

    For your project, choose a Metro bus shelter that does not currently have a mural installed. It is helpful to pick one or two alternative shelters, in case your first choice is not available. Write down the shelter numbers on your application. They are located on the shelter's upper left corner as you view it from the street.

  • Complete your application form

    Metro must receive your application 2 weeks before your intended start date. You will have up to 3 months to complete your mural. Keep in mind that a quality mural often takes longer than you might think. Include your shelter numbers and project dates. The application form is your agreement with Metro to complete the mural project within your scheduled time.

    The shelter ID number can be found on the upper left corner of the structure, viewed from the street.

  • Metro emails a Project Information Packet to you

    After your application, design, and starting date have been approved, Metro will email a Project Information Packet to you. The packet includes:

    • Map and Voucher for picking up your pre-primed mural panels & paint
    • Important information to help your project go smoothly
    • The mural return form
  • Pick up your panels at Metro

    In your Project Information Packet there is a map on your Pick-up Voucher to help you find the Metro South Facilities building. You may pick up your panels and paint at Metro on or after the pickup date written on your Voucher. Your panels and paint are available for pickup Monday-Friday, between 7 am to 4 pm. You must turn in your Pick-up Voucher to the front office at South Facilities to pick up your panels and paint. The largest mural panel is approximately 24" by 92". These 1/4" plywood panels can usually be loaded by one person into a minivan, SUV, pickup or large station wagon.

  • Paint your mural

    You will be painting your mural with water-base, acrylic latex paint in your own studio, classroom or home. Each panel is marked on the backside to indicate its TOP and the location where it will be installed on the shelter. It is important to read the information that comes in your Project Information Packet before you start. If you have a lead artist or painting coordinator, make sure they have a copy of the Project Information Packet.

  • Lead artist responsibility

    The final appearance of the mural is the responsibility of the lead artist. Some group projects may run out of time before all finishing touches are completed. It is the lead artist's or painting coordinator's responsibility to make sure that the mural is complete. Some colors are more transparent than others and will require at least a second coat to look finished. Drips, runs, unfinished or thin areas need to be corrected before the mural is returned to Metro. If you are working with youth, help them exhibit a mural that looks as special as they hope it will. Remember that most students have never painted artwork before; they want it to look special, and love to be helped. By defining lines and edges, adding highlights and shadow, or adding unusual touches, their public art experience will sparkle for years.

  • Return your mural panels to Metro

    When you have finished your project, return your mural panels and Return Form to Metro. We will apply a protective clear-coat to the mural panels and install them in the shelter within 3-4 weeks. If you have any questions regarding your mural project, call Rose McCracken at 206-477-5817 or send an e-mail.

Application form


The majority of Metro’s photomural shelter artworks were the result of partnerships with Photographic Center Northwest and eight jurored competitions. There are no additional competitions planned at this time. 

Below are videos on a few of the cultural and historical photomural projects that Metro has collaborated on.

  1. John Conna video by KCTV, “New Bus Shelter Mural in Federal Way honors pioneering Black Family”
  1. Photomurals celebrating indigenous elders first of new bus shelter art
  1. Edwin T. Pratt video
  1. Jimi Hendrix Photo Mural Dedication Video