Someone You Should Know: Former art teachers create the 605 Magic Art Bus

Published: Jan. 12, 2023 at 9:07 AM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Artists themselves, Mercedes Maltese and Marlo Arp both created The 605 Magic Art Bus, which they describe as a classroom on wheels.

“This was an idea I was thinking about for a while. I asked my friend Marlo who I have known as an art teacher for decades if she would be willing to help me with this endeavor,” said Mercedes.

“If you think about communities that aren’t able to reach out for summer requisite programs or small classes, or maybe schools that can’t provide because of a lack of a resource, room, or an instructor. We simply can provide that now,” said Marlo.

It took them a year to transform the bus.

“We’re pretty amazed. It’s been quite a long process. It took over a year to renovate the bus. Marlo and Joe our mechanic helped gut the whole thing. We had help from family to build the floor and countertops,” said Mercedes.

They believe art is a tool to educate and generate creativity.

“Art is so incredibly important in people’s lives. I think once you educate and you remind some of us that forget, that our day-to-day lives and activities revolve around art,” said Marlo.

It is wheelchair accessible and open to all ages.

“As adults, sometimes we forget to play, and art is that avenue to remember how to play again and how to let our creativity shine,” said Marlo.

They hope to become a non-profit one day and are trying to obtain grants and sponsorships.

The 605 Magic Art bus is a unique way to connect communities to the world of art.

“Our counters actually can flip up. All the shelving is removable, so if we wanted to open up the whole bus for an art show we could do that too. It could be a makeshift gallery, an art studio, and a dance party if we put our disco lights on,” said Mercedes.