Thursday, December 20, 2007

Buses, Trains, and Art?

When the Hiawatha line was in the midst of construction, Metro Transit launched its first foray into public art. But there doesn't seem to be any sort of on-going effort to bring artistic design to the transit system. I know, I know. Folks are probably thinking that the last thing our cash-strapped transit agency needs to do is spend money on public art, but take a look at some of these incredible examples in other parts of the country and think of how cool your bus/light rail stop and vehicles could be!

No surprise that New York's Metropolitan Transit Authority has an amazing public art program--ranging from poetry on subway cars, murals and mosiacs in stations, and even a sponsored performing arts series!

TRI-MET, the transit operator in Portland, OR, also has a great public art program that's focused on "celebrating the contributions of public transportation and recognizing the cultural richness in the region."

Dallas, Texas, which is a southern mecca for art to begin with, has also done it up when it comes to the DART system. Not only do they have art at 38 stations, they've also got this high-tech online tourbook that shows you the art at each station.

Los Angeles, despite rumors of being the place where residents love cars more than anything else, has invested heavily in the public art in the Metro system. They sponsor free art tours and have a free art guide if you want to take the tours yourself.

All images taken from the respective transit agency's public art websites.

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