San Francisco

‘BARTist's' Artwork Sheds Smiles During Commute

"Anyone that you pass by on BART can be your new best friend," artist says

A mundane ride on BART whipped up a few smiles last week thanks to the work of a local artist.

Taylor Franks of San Francisco was tired of antisocial and melancholy train rides so he decided to clutter BART cars and stations with a few artsy pick-me-ups.

From a detachable swing installed inside a BART car to a taped hopscotch course in front a ticket machine, Franks wanted commuters to loosen up and take some time to enjoy the simplicities of life.

"If people are given the opportunity to smile and connect with each other, more often than not they will take that and embrace it," Franks said.

The self-proclaimed "BARTist" also planted a simple, yet compelling sign stating  "Every Breath is a Blessing" next to posted train maps around stations in San Francisco. He also enlarged a "Missed Connections" Craigslist advertisement and plastered it in an empty advertisement space so that people could witness some true human connection that Franks says can happen on the very trains that zip folks around the Bay Area.

"Anyone that you pass by on BART can be your new best friend," he said.

To the best of Franks' knowledge, most of the pieces of artwork have been taken down, but even though his messages have been extinguished, he hopes that he inspired BART riders to share a smile instead of diving straight into their screens.

"We need as many small, little reminders that love, connection and joy are necessary," Franks said.

Franks has not talked to BART about his art exhibition and NBC Bay Area is waiting for the transit agency to provide a statement.

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