Art for Commuters enhances subway network's show

February 4, 2008 by Dave Haynes

One of the biggest challenges facing this industry is dealing with time, cost and brain cramps of steadily feeding the content beast. Keeping the same stuff up on a screen too long is deadly. And what’s up there should actually be interesting and relevant.

Toronto’s OneStop Network is one of very few companies I’m aware of who have tapped into the visual arts community to help populate their subway platform screens with fresh material and, at the same time, either entertain or help spread a message.

There was a piece in the Toronto Star this morning about how OneStop is running environmentally-themed video shorts on its network for the next month.

The videos are part of a first-time competition called Art for Commuters, founded by Sharon Switzer, who has been working with Onestop on other projects, including a student film festival.

The assignment was to make a video envisioning a hopeful future for the city.

“What we were asking for was for people to imagine positive, possible futures even if it’s crazy. What was easier for students was to give me the negative possibilities for Toronto – the smog and congestion – (the) response I’m trying to avoid. I’m trying to go for something more hopeful,” said Switzer, who has taught university arts courses and makes video art herself.

Another series is set for July, and OneStop has, in the past, run other film shorts as well as animated pieces.

I think it’s a win for everybody. Commuters get something more than news headlines to look at, apart from the ads. Students and filmmakers get a platform and exposure. And OneStop broadens its content offer and sets itself a part from the pack.

  1. I think that this is an amazing use of a digital signage. As evidenced by the string of comments I left within the spirited discussion between industry and non-industry folks on the worth of digital signage on Locamoda’s blog (, I am a strong believer in digital OOH media’s ability to blend art and commerce.

    Digital signage offers amazing opportunities to alter the media landscape. In order for a network to be successful, it needs to be more than just about advertising. The content must be engaging and dynamic, providing a discernable value to people. Featuring emerging artists, highlighting social issues, integrating clips from documentaries, are just a few of the ways in which a digital sign can be used as more than a screen to capture eyeballs.

  2. […] digital content – art for commuters source: LMP […]

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