Elementary Art

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The Grisby Fun-Bus Repository

funbusgallery1Properly, this exhibit of elementary school art is the Repository of the Grisby Elementary Ages 7-12 Bulletin Board and Refrigerator Art Traveling Fun-Bus, but for convenience and to reduce the cost of printing the Museum officially uses the shorter form of the name.

Unlike many of our collections, the history of the Grisby Repository  is documented in audio form, in the recordings from the black box equipped in all elementary school buses.

As the summer of 1978, Grisby Elementary art teacher Linda Martinez took to the road to keep the spirit of third period art class alive through the Texas summer, in the form of a traveling summer vacation art exhibit, the Grisby Elementary Fun-Bus. When the first tremors of the 1980 recession hit, Martinez found herself out of a job, and kept on driving. As the sun crested the horizon on the fateful morning of July 16, 1980, its beams fell upon Mount Bonnell, lighting the windows of the bus, and over a dozen Austin ISD squad cars. In a desperate bid for artistic freedom, Martinez accelerated down the treacherous winding road, the bus breaking through the 2222 guardrails, briefly backlit by the rising sun before she plummeted to the gorge seven feet below.

The bus and its contents were sent to a salvage lot, and much of the work in the original Grisby Ages 7-12 Bulletin Board and Refrigerator Art Traveling Fun-Bus is considered lost to history. A portion of the collection was recovered when the bus was excavated in 1995, and over the years the Repository has been expanded with art from Grisby students, graduating class of 1978-81, as they are verified by University art historians.