With paint brush and palette in hand - but with no particular plan - Ashley Mary set out Monday morning to transform the Uptown Transit Station into the metro area's most colorful bus stop.

Applying a bright yellows here, bold reds there and every neon color under rainbow in between, the renowned Minneapolis abstract painter, illustrator and designer leaned on spontaneity to shape her first public outdoor installation as she created a mural on the south windows of the station at 2855 Hennepin Avenue S.

"It's colorful chaos, a beautiful mess," she said as she worked on her masterpiece. "I work best shooting from the hip. That creates the best result."



Mary started work at 9 a.m. and will finish eight hours later, putting the finishing touches on her work during a celebration from 3 to 5:30 p.m.

Metro Transit commissioned Mary for the project, which the agency dubs the "Color Pop Bus Stop." The idea is to provide something bright and whimsical for the 2,500 riders who use the transit station each day and for those who pass by, said Kathy Graul, Metro Transit's social media strategist. 

"We wanted something bright and vibrant as the dark and depressing gray days of winter approach," she said. "This is something surprising, fun and engaging."

This is the third year Metro Transit has gone artsy to connect with riders and the community. Two years ago, the agency teamed up with local artist local artist Knitteapolis to create the "Yarn Bus." In that project, Knitteapolis wrapped hand rails inside a bus with yarn.

Last year Metro Transit had local cartoonist Kevin Cannon create artwork depicting transportation and downtown Minneapolis as part of the "We Are Metro Transit" installation at the Government Station. The installation also included selfies submitted by riders.

"When we go to these lengths to make things beautiful, riders appreciate it and find it cool"

Mary's installation will be on view until February 2019.

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