SolTrans Celebrates 100 Years of History in Solano County
Local artist Mark Eanes’ artwork on public display at SolTrans facility
The SolTrans public transit system, serving the southern Solano County communities of Vallejo, Benicia and beyond, is a transit agency that truly thinks globally but acts locally.
While SolTrans’ notable claim to fame may be its commitment to global sustainability through a fleet of hybrid buses and all-electric buses, one of its more recent contributions to the community has a very local focus—and is jam-packed with fascinating local history.
If you’ve recently popped into the front entrance of SolTrans’ Operation and Maintenance Facility in downtown Vallejo, you may have seen a 9-foot-long, jigsaw-shaped, multimedia mural that cleverly mixes photos and paintings of settings from the last hundred years of Vallejo and Benicia history.
The installation actually tells a very specific story.
It’s called “Wheel of Time,” and it’s the winner of SolTrans’ recent call to artists that solicited submissions of original artwork to embellish the entrance area. The winning submission was unveiled in late April at an art unveiling event at the facility, capping off a call-to-artists process that featured submissions from more than 20 local artists from within Solano County.
“Wheel of Time” was created by Mark Eanes, a painter, printmaker and photographer who combined all three of those facets into this one fascinating piece of art. Eanes describes the work as “a historical narrative of South Solano County’s mass transit program for over a century,” and combined a number of snapshots of buses, vehicles and cars in Solano County from the early 1900s to the modern day.
But “Wheel of Time” embellishes this photographic historical narrative with Eanes’ signature mixed-media abstractions of painting and printmaking to create a visually striking work of art that can be seen here.
The work was created with additional help and resources from the Vallejo Naval Historical Museum and the Benicia Historical Museum, and explores the history of connecting those two communities dating back to the early 20th century and the establishment of the Vallejo Bus Company and the Benicia-Vallejo Stage Line.
The call to artists focused on soliciting submissions specifically from Vallejo and Benicia artists, a sign of SolTrans’ investment and focus on the two primary municipalities the transit system serves.
Winning artist Mark Eanes has been living and painting in Benicia for more than 20 years, and his work has been shown nationally and internationally. An associate professor of art at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco, Eanes also has a 25-foot mural on display at the new wing of Kaiser Hospital in Vallejo and is a former president and current board member of the nonprofit Arts Benicia.
Eanes’ “Wheel Of Time” isn’t the only work of locally produced art on display at the SolTrans Operation and Maintenance Facility. SolTrans also commissioned Vallejo-based painter Jeff Snell to create a painting in honor of SolTrans’ employee of the year in maintenance, Rigo Ortega. Snell’s painting depicts Ortega at work in the maintenance facility, a recognition of the behind-the-scenes labor and toil that goes into keeping SolTrans operating smoothly and a noteworthy display of SolTrans’ acknowledgements to its staff and its hometown community.
Head on down to the SolTrans Operation and Maintenance Facility on Broadway Street in Vallejo to see these remarkable works of art in person, and appreciate their homage to SolTrans’ hardworking employees and the hardworking communities that SolTrans serves.
And then hitch a ride around Vallejo, Benicia and all points of interest in southern Solano on the SolTrans, a modern-day transit system with a long and storied history that has Solano County transportation down to an art form.
Explore the unique communities of Vallejo and Benicia on these popular SolTrans routes, where SolTrans delivers safe, reliable and efficient transportation services that effectively link people, jobs and their communities.
Story Contributors: Joe Kukura and Gayle Peterson
Posted under Our Stories