A mural celebrating Saginaw and poet Theodore Roethke will be painted on local bus, thanks to a partnership with Saginaw Transit Authority Regional Services (STARS) and the SVSU Community Writing Center.

Pauly Everett, a professional muralist and Flint native, will be painting a mural which covers an entire STARS bus September 2 and 3. This mural, funded by STARS, the Michigan Humanities Council and Eastern Michigan Council of Governments, is part of the upcoming Theodore Roethke Poetry and Arts Festival, tentatively scheduled for March 19-22, 2021.

“STARS Director Glenn Steffens had the idea to bring art to our riders through a bus mural a year or two ago and we are thrilled to see this project take shape. This week also marks the return of bus routes since closing due to COVID concerns in March, so this is an exciting week for us,” says Jamie Forbes, STARS Director of External Affairs.

The mural will feature a quote from one of Roethke’s poems, along with an image of the poet himself. Other images will include wildlife and iconic locations of the city of Saginaw.

“Theodore Roethke was a Pulitzer-prize winning poet who grew up in Saginaw, right on Gratiot Avenue,” said Helen Raica-Klotz, SVSU Community Writing Center Co-director and Roethke Festival Chair. “Much of his early work centers on this city and his life here.”

The painting will be done in the parking lot of the Saginaw Art Museum, to allow community residents to see the creation of the mural from start to finish.

“I’m excited to bring the Roethke lines to visual fruition here in the City of Saginaw. The concept of creating and experiencing mobile murals has always fascinated me. I’m beyond thrilled to bring my talents to create something in memory of the great American poet for the people of Saginaw to experience on a daily basis,” said artist Pauly Everett.

When completed, the bus will be put back on its regular route and can be viewed driving throughout the city. In addition, the bus will be on display at the “Poetry in the Garden” event taking place September 17 from 6:30-8:30 at the Saginaw Art Museum.

Questions about this mural project or the Roethke Festival can be directed to Helen Raica-Klotz at klotz@svsu.edu or 989.964.6062.