As the community navigates the new normal of life amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many Savannah businesses and artisans have rallied to keep spirits high.


This spring, staff and students at Savannah College of Art and Design looked for ways to lift the moods of downtown visitors and pay tribute to frontline workers. The college tapped two SCAD alumni to re-imagine and re-design two working buses to show support on bus routes through downtown.


Alums, Russ Noto (M.F.A., painting, 2012) and Shannon Snow (B.F.A., illustration, 2011) were selected to create bus wraps in recognition and thanks to local frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.


In addition, SCAD alum, Angela Hopper (B.A., photographer, 2011) took the portraits of "Savannah's Frontline Heroes" which now hang at City Hall facing Bull Street and around Savannah. Her photos highlight some of Savannah’s medical professionals battling the pandemic each day.


While, the new buses feature inspirational messages for the community, serving as a moving billboard of positivity throughout the city.


Artist Shannon Snow is a Savannah native who designed one of the new buses in a pink wrap, with the message "We Rise by Lifting Others" in large font across the side.


Snow has kept busy during the pandemic, making a pledge to herself early on to continue creating art every day.


"Making art has always been incredibly comforting and meditative for me, so creating personal work on a daily basis became a way for me to stay grounded during these tough times," Snow shared.


Snow says her art is colorful, happy, and loaded with whimsy, and when she shares it on social media viewers are often drawn to the positivity found in her creations. It’s something she hopes passersby will take away from the new buses as they share their uplifting messages around town, she said.


"I get messages saying my art brings folks a sense of happiness, and acts as a reminder to be grateful for the simple beauty that surrounds us," Snow shared.


"This tremendous opportunity to design a bus for SCAD will be a way to spread some much-needed good vibes to my Savannah community," she added.


Alum Russ Noto’s bus design features a white motif with the words "To all the frontline workers – Thank You" splashed boldly across the bus frame, decorated with red hearts and palm trees.


Officials at SCAD say the buses are already in operation and will be fully online in this fall when students return to campus and classes resume. Though what that new normal will look like is still anybody’s guess.


In the meantime, the new decorative bus project and photo displays are yet another example of the many ways local residents and businesses are trying to keep the community’s spirits alive during this trying time.


For updates on the latest art projects and initiatives from SCAD, follow the college on Facebook or visit online: www.scad.edu