Common Roots Mobile Art Bus takes art on the road

Common Roots Mobile Art Bus takes art on the road
Nick Blunier stands next to his mobile art bus. COURTESY PHOTO/Parris Leary
Liz Gotthelf, Publisher

BIDDEFORD — A local artist is making art more accessible to children and families by bringing the studio to them.

For sculptor and painter Nick Blunier, community has been at the forefront of creative endeavors. When he opened Common Roots Studio at 165 Main St., Biddeford a decade ago, he set out to create a welcoming space for local artists to make and sell their work and an affordable place for community members to take classes.

Blunier is further combining his passions of community and art with the Common Roots Mobile Art Bus. He found a small school bus – a 2003 Chevy Express Cutaway- that had been partially renovated before put up for sale on Facebook marketplace. Using sponsorships, skills he learned during time spent living and traveling the country with friends in a renovated Fed Ex truck, and some Yankee ingenuity, he has transformed the bus into a traveling art studio.

The Common Roots Mobile Art Bus will travel to different locations, providing  a place to create for families who otherwise would not have access to art.

Blunier has seen first-hand the impact art can have on young people, through his work as an art teacher at Sweetser, and his past work running a summer arts camp with Engine and a mobile art program through ArtVan.

“There is no doubt that art is a meaningful way for children to express their emotions and create something that they can be proud of,” he said.

The Common Roots Mobile Art Bus was painted by community members at last year’s Fringe Fest, and will make it’s debut as a working studio at this year’s Fringe Fest in August. Tables will be set outside the bus to give children and their families opportunities to explore a variety of art mediums.

For those who want to help sustain the art bus program, there are a few ways to help. Local businesses can become a sponsor, which includes the company’s logo on the van and marketing materials. Individuals can donate to the Amazon wish list or the van’s GoFundMe page.

Publisher Liz Gotthelf can be reached at [email protected]