Article by Angelica Poversky

Arts and cultural venues at UBC Vancouver often face a challenge in reaching students and faculty to inform them about on-campus events, programming, and exhibitions. The Arts and Culture District, which encompasses UBC’s galleries, theatres, and other cultural venues, has found a sustainable solution to the problem: a three-wheeled ticket-selling tricycle.

The Ticket Trike’s SEEDS project team includes Angelica Poversky, Communications, Marketing and Special Events Assistant at the UBC Arts and Culture District, Robert Gardiner, Professor of Design and Production with UBC Theatre and Film, Shavonne Yu, a Bachelor of Environmental Design student, and Deb Pickman, Communications and Marketing Manager of the Arts and Culture District. Photo by Paul Joseph, Communications and Marketing.

The Ticket Trike, which debuts on campus this Fall, will bring the arts and culture scene directly to students. Deb Pickman, Communications and Marketing Manager of the Arts and Culture District was looking for a solution to “the lack of visibility of art and culture with students and faculty. It is a paradox that we entertain almost 500,000 people a year in The District but we want more of those seats filled with students.”

Shavonne Yu, designed the Ticket Trike as a Seeds Sustainability Program project. Photo by Paul Joseph, Communications and Marketing.

The idea for the project began with the thought, “What if the ticket booth was on wheels? We couldn’t afford a truck and a vehicle wouldn’t be sustainable,” said Pickman. She envisioned the trike would function as a box office, information desk, and a place to experience art on wheels. She scrapped an earlier plan to set up a ticket booth in the Nest in favour of a pedal-powered box office as it would capture the essence of social sustainability that the Arts and Cultural District values. “The wheels make it a moving performance in itself,” said Pickman.

In Fall 2016, Pickman approached the SEEDS Sustainability Program who engaged Robert Gardiner, Professor of Design and Production with the UBC Theatre and Film department as the faculty mentor for a project to complete the exterior design of the trike.

The Trike was designed in the Frederic Wood Theatre scene shop. Photo by Deb Pickman.

A proposal from Shavonne Yu, a third year Bachelor of Environmental Design student, was selected to makeover the 300-pound trike. Yu soon found herself hard at work in the Frederic Wood Theatre scene shop. A self-described “inquisitive cat - leaving no leaf unturned, exploring everything in and out of sight,” she united her knowledge of creative media, art, and the environment in the project.  

Shavonne Yu hand paints artwork on the side of the Trike’s box office. Photos: (from left) Deb Pickman and Paul Joseph, Communications and Marketing.

“Shavonne learned just a little bit about design project management,” laughs Gardiner who provided Yu with advice about paints, materials, budget, and purchasing. For the extensive project, Gardiner also provided opportunities for Yu to collaborate with staff members including Stage and Lighting Specialist, Jim Fergusson, who provided advice on paint and other technical support. Even though there were some things that Yu wished to include in the project, such as a video projector, Gardiner worked with her to keep the project within feasibility.

The opportunity to design the Ticket Trike exterior as a SEEDS project provided Yu with an exciting way to ignite her passion for arts and culture with the rest of the UBC campus. The young artist hopes this passion is conveyed in her design. “I wanted to share the excitement that comes with being transported to a different time and place to experience a play, or an opera.”

Shavonne Yu steps out of the Ticket Trike’s box office. 

The Trike was fabricated by alumnus Jonathan Tippet who incorporated a solar panel,  portable speakers and tracer lights, to enliven any space it rolls to. The trike transformed into a work of art with Shavonne Yu’s touch. The box office is hand painted with a sense of craftsmanship using bright colours and designs. A chalkboard under the ticket window can be updated with lines of poetry or student drawings. The design also implements a poster case, a word cloud, and hooks for customer’s belongings.

Shavonne Yu hand painted the signage on the Ticket Trike to give it a vintage look. Photo by Paul Joseph, Communications and Marketing.

During her research Yu searched for alternative DIY elements and forged a partnership with the Bike Kitchen.  The vintage-style look of the bike is tied together with a basket to hold brochures, candy, and other goodies to attract the eyes of students on campus.

The Ticket Trike is set to become a regular and memorable part of campus life this September. There will be many opportunities to interact with the unique vehicle, including an official ribbon cutting ceremony on Imagine Day. It can also be spotted at student-focused events such as Homecoming and the Harvest Feastival.

 Shavonne Yu displays what the box office will look like on the Ticket Trike. Photo by Paul Joseph, Communications and Marketing.

A student will be hired to ride the trike, utilizing leg and art power to propel the arts and culture movement throughout campus (literally). They will be trained in possibly the most interesting combination of tasks at any entry-level job on campus: running a box office while cycling.

With hundreds of Arts and Culture District offerings throughout the year ranging from club nights, opera, to world music, galleries, and theatrical shows, the Ticket Trike is sure to connect with new student audiences.

Learn more about other amazing student projects with the SEEDS Sustainability Program.