Join Mike the Poet for a free Valentine’s evening art tour on the Gold Line

This Valentine’s Day, take a sunset art tour and fall in love with Metro. The free one night only tour looks at artworks in the Metro system through the lens of poet Mike Sonksen, also known as Mike the Poet, a third-generation Los Angeles native who is known for his poetry performances, writings and unique city tours blending poetry and history.

General Information

The tour takes place on Friday, Feb.14 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tour will depart from the information booth at the Alameda Street entrance to Union Station at 5:30 p.m.

The tour ends at Kings Row Gastropub in Old Pasadena at 7 p.m. Tour participants can save $5 on their meal there by showing their valid TAP card to the cashier.

The tour is approximately 90% walking. There are elevators and escalators in all of the stations.

Public restrooms are available at Union Station.

Metro Presents: free salsa performance at Union Station Jan. 31

Photo courtesy of LA Picante.

Photo courtesy of LA Picante.

Metro Presents will bring salsa band LA Picante to historic Union Station on Friday, January 31. The band will play from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. as part of Metro’s ongoing program of creative arts and entertainment at the iconic station. The performance will take place inside the Fred Harvey Room, a space that is usually closed to the public.

The performance is free to the public and dancing is welcome. There will be a free mini-dance lesson around 6:45 p.m.

Event Details:
Friday, January 31, 2014
Two 45-minute sets beginning at 6:00 and 7:00 p.m.
Union Station Fred Harvey Room
800 North Alameda St.

Los Angeles, CA 90012

Founded in 2005, LA Picante plays a celebrated blend of classic salsa, collectively drawing from years of experience playing with the top Latin jazz and salsa groups in Los Angeles. Band members hail from Cuba, Colombia, Argentina and the U.S. Fiery classics by Willie Colon, Eddie Palmieri, Ruben Blades and many more fill out the group’s repertoire!

Union Station is accessible via Metro Rail, Metro Bus and several municipal bus lines. Use the Trip Planner for routes and connections. Car and bicycle parking are also available on site.

Artwork installations in progress at El Monte Station

Workers installing Martin Durazo's artwork

Workers installing Martin Durazo’s artwork

Sixteen new artworks are being installed at Metro’s El Monte Station. The artworks — by Martin Durazo, Phung Huynh, Vincent Ramos and Eloy Torrez — are located at each of the station’s four transit bays and help enliven the customer experience.

Each artist created four artworks. The colorful new artwork panels can be viewed at each bay from multiple viewpoints.

Click here for details on an exhibition of the four El Monte artists’ work, opening next week.

Phung Huynh's artwork being installed. Each artist created artwork in the medium of their choice, including drawing, painting and collage. This work was digitally captured in high-resolution digital files. The artwork was then translated onto 8’ x 8’ powder-coated aluminum panels, which can withstand the elements over the long-term, and are easy for Metro to maintain.

Phung Huynh’s artwork being installed. Each artist created artwork in the medium of their choice, including drawing, painting and collage. This work was digitally captured in high-resolution digital files. The artwork was then translated onto 8’ x 8’ powder-coated aluminum panels, which can withstand the elements over the long-term, and are easy for Metro to maintain.

El Monte Station
Built in the 1970s, the original transit center was the busiest bus-only station west of the Mississippi. The station was demolished to make way for a new two-level station, doubling its previous size and accommodating up to 40,000 daily riders. The new station has modern amenities including variable message signs, intercoms, closed circuit television, solar panels, wayfinding equipment and information displays, new elevators and escalators, a transit store, bike stations and lockers.

Metro Art Program
Metro Art implements the agency’s percent for art program, manages the care and maintenance of the system’s existing artworks and directs a volunteer docent council. From rail and bus stations to construction fences and poetry cards, art creates a sense of place and engages transit riders. Since 1989, Metro has commissioned artists to incorporate artworks into a wide array of transportation projects throughout Los Angeles County. The agency has received numerous design and artistic excellence awards, and is renowned for its approaches to integrating art into the transit experience, and for engaging artists at all levels of their careers.

Metro’s spring art tours begin Feb. 6 and lead to DTLA dining

The first  Metro Art Moves You free spring tour departs from Union Station on Thursday, Feb. 6. Focused on three downtown stations, the guided, artist-led tours provide unique experiences with Metro’s diverse art collection.

The tour will meet at the Union Station information kiosk just inside the Alameda Street entrance and end at 7th St/Metro Center Station. From there, you can visit several 213 Nightlife dining destinations. Tour participants can save 15% on food at Casey’s Irish Pub, Cole’s French Dip and Ebanos Crossing by showing their valid TAP cards to the server when ordering.

Not sure you’ll be able to make it to this tour? Don’t worry – the spring art tours take place on the first Thursday of each month, which means two more chances to participate on March 6 or April 3.

General Information

  • Tours take place on the first Thursdays of the month: February 6, March 6 and April 3, 2014 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.
  • Tours begin at Union Station and end at 7th St/Metro Center Station.
  • The tours are approximately 90% walking; there are elevators and escalators in all of the stations.
  • Public restrooms are available at Union Station.

For more information on Metro Art Moves or Metro Art in general, visit their page here.

Metro Deputy CEO Paul Taylor soon to retire

Metro’s Deputy CEO Paul Taylor is retiring next month, which is certainly a well deserved move for Paul and a bit of a bummer for the rest of us at Metro. Above is a short video about Paul that was shown at this morning’s Metro’s Board meeting.

My quick three cents: Paul has been enormously supportive of this blog and of Metro’s expanded efforts in recent years to help inform the public about the agency and its projects and programs. In short, he knows it’s government’s duty to get the word out.

On behalf of yours truly and the rest of Metro’s staff, we wish Paul nothing but the best in the years ahead and thank him for his hard work on behalf of the agency, our riders and the taxpaying public,


New artwork at El Monte Station will be on display at Rio Hondo College next month

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Here’s the news release from Metro:

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) has commissioned four talented Los Angeles based artists – Martin Durazo, Phung Huynh, Vincent Ramos and Eloy Torrez – for artworks that will enhance the transit experience at El Monte Station, the largest bus facility west of Chicago that sees up to 40,000 daily riders. Each artist has created four artworks that will be installed at the station January 2014.

Rio Hondo College will be exhibiting the original artworks to facilitate a dialog between the artists and the community. The exhibition will be on display from Feb. 3 – 28. Gallery hours will be 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday, with additional evening hours Monday through Wednesday from 6 – 9 p.m.

A panel discussion will provide an opportunity to meet the artists and learn about the process of translating their artistic vision into works of art for public transportation sites. The panel will take place Thursday, February 6 from 7 – 8 p.m. in the Ray Theatre at Rio Hondo College and will include the artists Martin Durazo, Phung Huynh, Vincent Ramos and Eloy Torrez, and moderator Jorge Pardo, Metro Director of Art & Design. Admission to both panel discussion and the exhibition will be free. Parking at Rio Hondo College is $3.

Rio Hondo College is located at 3600 Workman Mill Rd., Whittier, CA, 90601. It is accessible from El Monte Station via Metro Bus 270 and Express Bus 577. Use the Trip Planner at for more routes and connections.

The exhibition physically reveals a critical and often challenging process for the artist in negotiating the changes that occur when an artwork is fabricated for a public site. Durable artwork materials are necessary to withstand outdoor transit environments and to ensure long-term artistic integrity. Each artwork panel represents the culmination of a process of translation-in concept, practice and material. The exhibition presents a variety of media used in the artists’ studios, including painting, drawing, and digital collage that have been interpreted into powder-coated aluminum panels.

Vincent Ramos pays homage to the rich cultural contribution of the El Monte Legion Stadium, a hotbed of activity in its heyday. The artwork focuses on the musicians who played at the stadium and the promoters (radio deejays and TV personalities) who organized and hosted these events. Individuals represented in the artwork reflect the early worlds of rock n’ roll, rhythm and blues, and country music.

Eloy Torrez explores transitions and movement to visualize the movement, energy and patterns that people create on their travels. His work depicts our monetary encounters as we cross paths with each other in our daily lives and within the transit environment.

Artist Martin Durazo uses swirling vibrant colors such as metallic blue, electric yellows, pinks, and silvers, to energetically mirror the ever-changing intersection of cultures and environments in the Los Angeles area.

Phung Huynh’s artwork is informed by the city’s rich history through the use of symbolic and metaphoric imagery. Her stylized treatment of forms, shapes, and figures is inspired by papel picado (Mexican papercut art) and Chinese papercut art.

To request images of artwork for publication, please email For more information on Metro’s art program, visit