New Brown Line Art I Wish I Had at My CTA Stop

by crandell | 12/07/2008

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Tile mosaic by Juan Carlos Macias at the Irving Park Brown Line stop.
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New Irving Park Station House.
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Tile mosaic by Juan Carlos Macias.
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Tile mosaic by Juan Carlos Macias.
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The Irving Park stop also now features a new crosswalk with signal outside the entrance, though several cars blew through the stop light on my visit, so use with caution.
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Awesome shoes on the tile mosaic.
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Tile mosaic "carpet" by Hellen Harvey at the Francisco Brown Line stop.
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Detail of tile mosaic.

As part of the Brown Line capacity expansion project, the CTA is installing new art in all of the updated Brown Line stations -- a requirement of their federal funding. I attended a community meeting back in July about the selection of art for the Belmont station, and I was really impressed with the presentation about art at other stations around the city. I would never expect that I would like most of the art considering it's meant to cater to such a broad audience, but I was surprised that more than a handful of the pieces really fit my taste. This weekend I had the opportunity to take a little field trip to check out two of my favorite Brown Line pieces, at the newly reopened Irving Park stop and the Francisco stop.

The Irving Park stop reopened after about a year of construction with a new tile mosaic depicting figures in sitting position on a train. The piece was done by local Chicago artist Juan Carlos Macias. The new station also features a crosswalk with a signal, making it easier to reach the entrance without having to walk two blocks out of your way to cross the street.

Farther north, the updated Francisco stop features a tile mosaic "carpet" at the entrance to the station. This piece really makes this station and turns an otherwise insignificant station house into a special experience. The work was done by Brooklyn artist Ellen Harvey. Check out her website for much better photographs of the work.

According to the community meeting I attended, the CTA and Chicago Dept. of Cultural Affairs would be selecting the new Belmont station art some time this winter after another public meeting. I'm hoping we'll get something as quality as either of these works to make my daily train ride a little more pleasant. If you're interested in participating in the next public meeting on the Belmont or Fullerton art selection, visit the Arts in Transit webpage or subscribe to this blog and I'll post updates.


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