Photo Credit: Matthew Henry | Unsplash
Meet The Black Man Who Designed 'Best Bus Stop In America 2022'
Portland, Maine, is home to the best bus stop in America, thanks to local jewelry artist Ebenezer Akakpo.
The bus stop came out on top for 2022 in Streetblog’s annual competition after a nail-biting battle between two New England cities: Portland and Boston.
Akakpo’s beautiful and vibrant design pays homage to his Ghanaian background and Portland’s diversity. Students in Portland’s public school system reportedly represent more than 63 languages. That’s pretty significant, considering it’s a city with approximately 66,000 people.
A Bus Stop Offering Messages of Hope
His bus stop was a favorite early on in the competition for its unique message and art piece titled “Hope & Friendship.”
Akakpo completed his design in 2021 for Creative Portland’s Creative Bus Shelter Project. Four artists were selected and paid $4,500 each to give bus stops a makeover. City leaders hope to increase ridership while promoting awareness and social acceptance through art installations in public spaces such as bus shelters. Public art is also a way to celebrate diversity and inclusion.
Akakpo was one of the artists selected, and patterns of his native Adinkra symbols inspired his overall design.
“When you meet a friend, you give a hug,” he says. “When you are in dire need, you look over your shoulder and up to the heavens for hope.”
He adds, “If you don’t understand the meaning, that is fine. It can look beautiful without the meaning or be beautiful plus the meaning.”
If you’re traveling to Portland, Maine, you can visit his bus shelter at the intersection of Congress Street and Mechanics Hall. While there, be sure to have our guide to Black-owned Maine handy. You can find it by clicking here.