New electric buses feature designs by Indigenous artist Iris Cliff

May 9, 2024

Lawrence Transit is proud to announce its collaboration with Iris Cliff (they/them) on the designs of the most recent electric buses to join the fleet. Cliff is an Assiniboine and Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa illustrator based in Lawrence, Kansas.

These buses are a part of Lawrence Transit’s zero emission fleet and are the sixth and seventh electric buses acquired so far through the “Low- or No-Emission” grant program. Lawrence Transit will be receiving four more electric buses in 2025, making up nearly a quarter of the total fleet.

Cliff worked with transit staff in 2023 to make the project come to life. Thirteen graphics were chosen to capture and celebrate symbols and architecture found in Lawrence and all over Kansas. Each of these graphics hold a small part of the culture surrounding Lawrence.

Cliff provided the following descriptions of each graphic:

  • Haskell Arch, a World War I memorial on Haskell campus.
  • Apache Hoop and Pole Game Dancer, a bronze sculpture by Craig Goseyun.
  • Haskell Medicine Wheel, an Earthwork located south of Haskell campus.
  • Water Bird, a Southwest and Plains Native American symbol of renewal of life and wisdom.
  • KU Campanile, a World War II memorial on KU campus.
  • Locomotive #1073, a 2-6-2 Prairie type locomotive located at Watson Park.
  • The William Kelly Bandstand, a popular place for special events at South Park.
  • Lawrence Bricks, an element of historic areas in Lawrence.
  • Kansas State Outline, with a heart shape indicating the location of Lawrence.
  • Kansas State Seal, highlighting the rolling hills and clouds.
  • Geometric Stars, a design shared among many Native American nations during the reservation era and today.
  • Wild Flowers, a natural element of Kansas’s wetland, fields, and prairies.
  • Monarch Butterflies, which pass through Kansas in mid-late September to rest and feed on wildflowers.

Some of Cliff’s other works can be found on bus shelters at Stop 118 – Massachusetts & 17th, and Stop 196 – Locust & N 3rd. You can also find their work at Wonder Fair and The Raven Book Store. Lawrence Transit is thankful for the opportunity to work with a local artist whose work can be found all across Lawrence.