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Public buses wrapped in love and koi fish, the work of young Omaha area artists

By: - November 18, 2022 7:45 pm

Winners were announced Friday for the student art contest sponsored by the Regional Metropolitan Transit Authority of Omaha, or Metro. Their designs are displayed on buses. (Courtesy of Metro)

OMAHA — Soon to be rolling through the streets of the metro area: Buses wrapped in love and koi fish.

The winning entries for the “Wheel Appeal” student contest were announced Friday by Metro, the regional public transit system that covers the Omaha metro area.

And the two young victors, Cecilia Urbanski of Omaha and Dylan Conrad of Council Bluffs, both in high school, will see their colorful designs covering a Metro bus.

Powered by love

Metro, which is celebrating its 50th year of service, launched the contest as a way for younger generations to get involved and understand the importance public transit has in everyone’s lives.

Cecilia Urbanski of Marian High School (Courtesy of Metro)

Urbanski’s design is centered around what she believes power the community: love.

“In a world where people are quick to point out their differences and pit themselves against one another, love is the solution,” said the senior at Omaha Marian High. “As our transit system adapts and evolves through the future, I hope our hearts do as well.”

Her bus is wrapped in nonstop bright colors with diverse faces and messages such as, “Share Love.”

Urbanski, who has seven siblings and four pets, is graphics editor of the Marian newspaper, co-president of the art club and involved in theater. She aspires to study graphic design and communications in college.

An ecosystem

Conrad’s artwork conveys an ecosystem with koi fish swimming. She said she intended to show how transportation of the future will consider animal habitats while connecting a community.

Dylan Conrad, winner of the middle school category, is now in high school. (Courtesy of Metro)

Her work reflects Metro’s commitment to sustainability and the environment.

Conrad, now in  high school, won the middle school category as she had entered the contest as a student of Gerald W. Kirn in Council Bluffs.  She loves art, dogs, soccer, hunting and baking with her three siblings.

A committee of Metro staff and community members chose the top entries representing a middle school and a high school.

Both winners and their families attended the Wheel Appeal event Friday, where Metro CEO Lauren Cencic and Metro board member Daniel Lawse spoke and offered a toast of sparkling apple cider.

“We are all in awe at the talent and passion these students put into their designs,” Cencic said.

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Cindy Gonzalez
Cindy Gonzalez

Senior Reporter Cindy Gonzalez, an Omaha native, has more than 35 years of experience, largely at the Omaha World-Herald. Her coverage areas have included business and real estate development; regional reporting; immigration, demographics and diverse communities; and City Hall and local politics. She has won awards from organizations including Great Plains Journalism, the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing (SABEW) and the Associated Press. Cindy has been recognized by various nonprofits for community contributions and diversity efforts. She chairs the board that oversees the local university’s student newspaper.

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