Shari Dragovich, our 2017 Writer by Bus for Art by Bus, offered a few comments at yesterday’s press conference. They were so good I wanted to share them with you here:
I have been following Roanoke’s Art by Bus program since its inception three years ago, It was not long after my family and I moved here, in fact. The idea that local leaders would tap into their artists to help strengthen and add vitality to a system often thought of only in pragmatic terms, made me love Roanoke even more than I already did. While some folks may think it strange, to me, marrying art to transportation just makes sense—marrying art to anything a community wants to enliven, makes sense to me.
Strangely, despite my admiration of the Art By Bus program and my own vocation as a writer, I never considered that I could be the Writer on the Bus. The truth is, until last week, I’d never actually ridden one of Roanoke’s buses. But, in January, when my editor at the Roanoker Magazine forwarded me this year’s application and suggested I apply: I knew it was something I had to try. Even all my fears about writing well enough, and doing press conferences like today were overwhelmed by this single exciting idea: As Roanoke’s Writer on the Bus, I have the opportunity to show Roanokers what I see when I look out at this town, its communities and its citizens: a place and people that is diverse and connected, strong and good. And I get to show them thru a medium I love most: power of story. Their stories. It is a task I’m honored—and very humbled—to have been selected for.
One of my favorite authors, Madeleine L’Engle says, “Stories make us more alive, more human, more courageous, more loving.” I believe this is true of all art that points us towards beauty and goodness. I am so grateful to Ride Solutions, The Valley Metro System, and The Arts Commission for recognizing this truth, partnering together and creating this beautiful and good way for me, as a creative writer, to help further connect and enliven Roanoke’s communities and its citizens.