Photo by Tom Bell.

Hey Missionites! We’ve got a project for you. And it involves a cash prize, so you’re gonna want to read on.

If you live or work in the Mission, you’re no stranger to the buses run by Google, Facebook, Apple, Yahoo, and Genentech that pick up techies and scientists to schlep them down the 101 to and from work each day.

But here’s the problem. Those buses? They’re boh-ring. Don’t they look like big canvases just waiting to be painted on? We think they do.

So here’s where you come in, Mission Local readers. The neighborhood is full of techies, scientists and artists (and plenty who are all three). We’ve decided it’s time for those worlds to collide and create.

So we’re launching an unauthorized contest to decorate those anonymous, tinted shuttles and convince them all to turn the buses into moving murals.

Doesn’t this bus just beg to be designed? Photo by Paul Sullivan

And here’s the part about the cash prize: Thanks to an anonymous donor, Mission Local is offering $500 to the winning proposal!

Deadline? Dec. 31 Submit your best sketches, ideas or anything you think will win to We’ll post ideas online as they come in.

Now get going! Make those buses beautiful…and make yourself $500 richer. We can’t wait to see your zany, inspiring creations.

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Living in the Mission District feels a lot like home for former Brooklyn resident Emily Gibson. Both neighborhoods are happening cultural centers with their own unique stories to tell. As an arts reporter, Gibson, 28, hopes to highlight under-reported Latin cultural events and their role in the larger contemporary art scene.

Courtney Quirin is a trained wildlife ecologist turned environmental journalist with a knack for photography and visual storytelling. Though her interests span many topics and disciplines, she's particularly keen on capturing multimedia stories pertaining to the global wildlife trade, human-wildlife relationships, food security, international development and the effects of global markets on local environments and cultural fabric. Courtney completed a MSc in Wildlife Management at the University of Otago, New Zealand, where she not only learned how to catch and tag fur seals (among many things) but also traveled to the highlands of Ethiopia to identify the nature and extent of farmer-primate conflict and its linkages to changes in political regime, land tenure, food security, and perceptions of risk. From New Zealand Courtney landed at The Ohio State University to investigate urban coyotes for her PhD, but just shy of 2 years deep into the degree, she realized that her true passions lie within investigative journalism. Since moving into the world of journalism, Courtney has been a contributor to Bay Nature Magazine, a ghostwriter for WildAid, and the science writer for While at Berkeley's J-School Courtney will focus on international environmental reporting through the lens of documentary filmmaking and TV.

Lynne Shallcross was stressed and tired after walking three miles without finding an open community clinic. “Is this what it's like for Mission residents who work full-time?” she wondered. Having walked in their shoes, she feels compelled to write about accessible healthcare in the Mission.

Alexandra Garreton, 26, enjoys living in a neighborhood where she can use her Spanish on a daily basis. Garreton moved to the Mission in August, and has been intrigued by the welcoming nature of the eclectic neighborhood. She’s passionate about giving underserved communities a voice.

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  1. $500?! R u serious? This is problem with u Tech people and how you think about art. You have no idea what it is worth at all. Tech people are about as creative and interesting as McDonalds. $500, wow. Yeah support the arts bro.

  2. Why the hell should we decorate them??? The problem is that they are HERE and what they contain and represent, not that they’re “boring”. This is really freaking stupid.

  3. ¿Can we sell tamales and empanadas inside those buses? We need some cash to be able to afford living in our own neighborhood

  4. This is a great idea on many levels! I can’t wait to see the design proposals. It’s a win even if the bus operators providing transportation to the tech companies don’t go for it.

    1. No. The article mentions it’s unauthorized. Once they’ve picked a winner they’ll try to pitch one of the companies to use it. Sounds like a great idea.