Public Art and Station Environments

Public art is artwork in the public realm, regardless of whether it is situated on public or private property, or whether it is acquired through public or private funding. Public art can be a sculpture, mural, manhole cover, paving pattern, lighting, seating, building facade, kiosk, gate, fountain, play equipment, engraving, carving, fresco, mobile, collage, mosaic, bas-relief, tapestry, photograph, drawing, or earthwork.

In the transit arena, public art is often found at stations and transit centers, along the right-of-way, and on signage and access ramps. Typical samples of transit art are featured on canopies, clocks, paving (such as platform, parking and crosswalks), poles, fencing, lighting, landscaping, poles, railing and seating and trash receptacles. Many functional aspects of a transit system can be transformed and enlivened by the application of art and artistic ideas.

Public art plays an important role in the development of the Gold Line and Foothill Extension. One percent of the total rail construction costs are allocated to the creation of original art works for each station, averaging $125,000 per station.

Artists are selected early in the planning process through a competitive, community-based process. The City Council of each city reviews and approves the artist selection and art concept for their station. Through this process, all work is especially created to represent the unique feeling and history of the community in which the station is located.

The information below highlights the art designed and installed for Phase 1, and the artist selection and concepts for Pasadena to Azusa and Azusa to Montclair stations and I-210 Bridge.

Phase 1 Art – Los Angeles, South Pasadena and Pasadena

The 13 stations comprising Phase 1 were designed to provide the baseline amenities (canopies, benches, trash cans, lighting, railings, etc.). What makes each station unique is the visual overlay of color and design of those amenities and the public art. Each Phase 1 station had a designated artist who designed the station art specifically to represent the unique character of the station (location, history, natural environmental, community, etc.). Additionally, artist Beth Thielen was selected as the “Alignment Artist” to create a unified theme on the alignment’s retaining walls, overpasses, and sound walls from Union Station to the Sierra Madre Villa Station.

Some cities provided “betterment” funding to the Construction Authority to augment the baseline amenities. The betterment process was used on the Mission Station in South Pasadena and the Fillmore Station in Pasadena. In each case, the additional funding provided for enhancements that created a more pedestrian-friendly destination. Specifically, in South Pasadena, the betterments created a unique gathering place for the community near the station. Today the plaza area at the entry of the station provides for a weekly farmers market and a gathering spot for cultural activities sponsored by the City of South Pasadena.

Phase 1 art (and artists) has been the subject of research and documentation, since the project was completed n 2003. Below are links to a number of informative sites:

Public Art in LA

Click here to view a presentation by researcher Michael Several, which highlights the art and environments of each Phase 1 station (presented at the Authority’s December 2009 State of the Project).

Art for Phases 2A and 2B – 12 Stations in 11 Cities (Arcadia to Montclair)

During 2005 and 2006, station artists were chosen to conceptualize the 12 future Phase 2A and 2B stations. Each artist was chosen from a field of their contemporaries through a community-led, city-approved process. Local stakeholders were appointed by their City Council or City Manager to serve on a Station Design & Art Review (SDAR) Committee, and responsible for selecting their station artist and the station art and design concept.

As with Phase 1, Phase 2 artists drew upon the unique history of their station’s community, environment, and residents. Working with the SDAR members and community historians, artists developed artwork that will make each station a unique place along the alignment.

The six artists selected for Phase 2A stations (Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale, Azusa-Alameda and Azusa-Citrus) were able to go beyond an initial concept and developed advanced designs. They worked with their SDAR Committees to further their designs, and advanced designs were approved by each city council in 2007. Click here to link to an overview of the Phase 2A artist selection process and here to an overview of the advanced design development process.

I-210 Bridge

An important component of Phase 2A is the I-210 Bridge that will allow connection between the current Sierra Madre Villa Station and the future Arcadia Station. The light rail bridge is being designed by world-renowned artist Andrew Leicester. Similar to the artist selection for Phase 2A, Andrew Leicester was selected by a committee of key community stakeholders, comprised of representatives from throughout the Phase 2A and 2B corridor communities.