Casco artist Isabelle Edwards transformed the Redneck Hay Wagon at Raymond’s Frozen Custard into The Art Bus, her studio and, coming soon, the site of a sales booth. Contributed / Raymond Dingley

Fans of Raymond’s Frozen Custard in Casco are in for a new kind of treat. “The Redneck Hay Wagon,” an old school bus Raymond Dingley kept at the shop for roughly 15 years to store hay, has had a makeover.

Casco artist Isabelle Edwards hopes to have “The Art Bus” open for business this summer after several years of renovation.

After Dingley hired Edwards, a long-time family friend, to work at his custard shop on Roosevelt Trail in 2014, he quickly became aware of her passion for the arts. 

“She showed me some of her artwork, and a few years later, Isabelle mentioned she would love to have her own store to sell her artwork out of, and that’s when I offered to let her use the bus,” Dingley said.

Dingley offered the bus to Edwards in 2017, but she fully began using it as her studio in 2019.

“I do lots of different kinds of art,” Edwards said. “I choose not to limit myself by telling myself that I’m ‘just a painter’ or ‘just a sculptor’ or ‘just a drawer.’ I really enjoy the process of experimenting with it all. But the most common thing people have bought from me are my paintings.”

Edwards had long hoped for a space of her own to create and sell her art.

The Redneck Hay Wagon was used to store hay for roughly 15 years before being converted to The Art Bus. Contributed / Raymond Dingley

“Before I got my hands on the bus I was still pretty much doing art whenever and wherever I could,” Edwards said. “The biggest difference between before the bus and now is that now I always have a space where I can escape to and make art, whereas before, I didn’t always have a space where I could do that.”

Edwards’ renovations are more aesthetic than structural, including spray painting the yellow exterior. 

“Because the bus was formerly ‘The Redneck Hay Wagon,’ it already had all of the seats taken out of it,” Edwards said. “The work that I put into it was more deep cleaning and digging hay out of every crack and crevice of that thing. As of right now I’m keeping everything original – original flooring, original walls, windows and ceiling – and I love it that way.”

Instead of hay, the bus now houses Edwards’ studio, artwork and art supplies. Though people have been commissioning art from her for years, this will be the first year the bus is officially open to the public.

“I have sold lots of art out of the bus, and I will continue doing that throughout the summer, but instead of having people in the studio space, I will have a booth set up outside of the bus,” Edwards said.

The interior of The Art Bus. Contributed / Isabelle Edwards

Though she has no set schedule for the bus so far, she plans to continue producing art and have the booth open as much as possible. “The Art Bus” and accompanying booth will remain at Raymond’s Frozen Custard in Casco.

“Maybe someday I’ll be able to upgrade and have a bus that I will be able to travel in, but this one will be staying right here at the custard shop,” Edwards said. 

“I am overwhelmed with the support and responses from the community that I’ve received in regards to the bus and my art. I could not be more thankful that I live in a community where people value artists and encourage peoples’ dreams the way that I have witnessed here. It’s so important, so special, and I appreciate it more than I could ever express.”

To learn more about Edwards’ work and bus opening, follow along on Facebook.

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