Five things to know about artworks for the future Historic Broadway Station

Here are five things to know about the artworks-in-progress for the future Regional Connector Historic Broadway Station. The artworks aim to elevate the visual experience of the station for future riders and connect the station to downtown communities. Artists were selected by a community-based panel, following extensive outreach and a competitive open call process.

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Clarence Williams – Platform Level Porcelain Enamel Steel

  1. With particular emphasis on the often-overlooked migrations of black Americans, Clarence Williams’ deeply personal artwork honors Los Angeles as the destination for migrants within the US and from around the world. Williams, a longtime former staff photographer for the L.A. Times, is also a Pulitzer prize winning photojournalist and artist.
  2. One of the platform walls will feature a series of black-and-white photographs documenting Louisianans displaced by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 — many of whom relocated to Los Angeles.
  3. The other platform wall will display a diverse series of photographs of contemporary immigrants in Los Angeles.
  4. All photographs will be paired with haikus written in response to Williams’ images by poet and long-time collaborator Ursula Rucker.
  5. The artist, with Rucker, hosted an interactive poetry workshop and performance with local high school students inspired by the themes of resilience, journey and home. The pair plan on hosting a similar public event in the coming year.

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Mark Greenfield – Concourse Level Mosaic Mural

  1. The artwork pays tribute to Los Angeles’ historic Pacific Electric “Red Car” through a dynamic abstraction of the former streetcar’s colors and graphic forms.
  2. Having grown up in Los Angeles with the Red Car, the artist resurrects the streetcar line with power and sentimentality.
  3. The artist’s energetic forms and sweeping gestures also refer to the momentum of a town always in flux and the rebuilding of Los Angeles’ public transit system.
  4. The artist will host a workshop series with local high school students that explore the history of the Red Car and bridge story-telling with abstract artwork.
  5. Among other subtle references to Red Car imagery, the artwork bursts with the shapes of ticket punch marks, once uniquely assigned to each train conductor.

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Andrea Bowers – Entrance Pavilion

  1. The artist draws inspiration from the downtown Los Angeles station location known as a meeting ground for people to exercise their political voice. The artwork is informed by the artist’s decades of activism in LA, including partnerships with social justice organizations doing work in downtown.
  2. With the civic center as a backdrop, the work will feature two texts — presented on glass panels forming the entrance pavilion — declaring democracy and solidarity.
  3. The first text, “El pueblo unido, jamás será vencido” (“the people united shall never be divided”), is a familiar protest chant that originated in Chile between 1969 and 1973 and later evolved into an anthem composed by Sergio Ortega.
  4. The second text, “By independence we mean the right to self-determination, self-government and freedom,” quotes from the mission statement of the Brown Berets, a Chicano civil rights group founded in East Los Angeles and active during the late 1960s and early 1970s.
  5. The artist plans to engage the community by hosting a series of pop-up performances featuring local musicians performing Ortega’s song.

9 replies

  1. Maybe I am a fuddy duddy, but I wonder how spending money on artwork enhances the convenience and functionality of a station,

    In New York, not even the brand-new Line 7 34th Street has extensive artwork.

    Getting the riders safely and quickly to and from their train must be the primary goal,

    PS — Even though I routinely check the two boxes, I never receive emails informing me of new comments. I used to, but now no longer,

    • Hi Frank,

      Metro allocates .5% of the project’s budget for artwork. Beyond providing aesthetic value, art in transit can encourage ridership through improved perception of transit and act as vandalism deterrence. It’s also a way to recognize the community the station serves.

      As for the email notifications, that seems to be a WordPress issue and we’ll ask staff to look into it!

      Thank you,

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

    • I like the art, and I don’t think it makes the trip any slower or less safe. Not to mention if you spent money only on functional design, you’d just have a blank box.

      It’s great for when you miss your train and you around in frustration and see something interesting 🙂

  2. I’d rather see advertisements. At least advertisements change every month or so. This stuff and most of the art that metro puts in their stations is so painfully dull. If something does miraculously catch your eye, a few seconds after staring at the piece, you think to yourself “wtf, what’s the point of this crap.” The Expo line has to have the worst artwork. With that being said, there are some stations with very cool artwork and overall designs on the network. Hollywood/ Vine, Hollyoowd/ Western, Sunset/Vermont, Unversal City, are all very cool looking stations. I like the Redondo Green Line Stations canopy and overall look. The El Segundo Hand Sculpture is cool. Chinatown station looks good. I also like the arches at the Downtown Azusa station. Do more of that stuff and less of this junk. Also, check out some of the artwork and designs on Seattles Link light rail. Capitol Hill and University of Washington station have great designs and artwork. Angle Lake station has a great piece of sculpture as well.

  3. Once upon a time, I agreed with the 0.5% art budget rule. But now in 2018, we live in an era where this project, with only 3 new stations, costs $2 billion. That works out to $10 million for art for three stations, or $3.3 million per station.

    So here we have 3 public art pieces, costing over $1 million apiece. This does seem excessive to me for station art.

    In its defense, Metro is simply carrying out the law, which requires the expenditure.

  4. As to Metrocenter’s comment about the cost. If I recall correctly: The budget for the art comes from the budget for the station, not the project as a whole. That would make them far less expensive.

    A second issue:
    Artwork is a ‘mass noun’ and does not take an ‘s’ to pluralize (in title and first paragraph). https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/artwork