Artwork installation at Downtown Santa Monica Station is underway

Metro Arts & Design team members Letitia Fernandez Ivins and Andrew Medvez at Downtown Santa Monica Station during stone sculpture installation.

Over the past three days, a new artwork in the form of 32 massive sandstones were lifted, delicately threaded and placed at the Downtown Santa Monica Station on the E Line (Expo).

The towering assembly comprises Saint Monica’s Tears, a sculptural artwork several years in the making by artist Walter Hood, 2019 MacArthur “Genius” Fellow. The installation of this monumental sculpture is being led by Arts & Design staff 

Saint Monica, or Santa Monica, is known as the “weeping saint,” as she was said to have shed tears every night over her son Augustine’s hedonistic lifestyle. Father Juan Crespi thought of her eyes when he first saw a pair of sacred springs, named Kuruvungna by the local Tongva tribe, running down the cliffs that rise above the present-day Pacific Coast Highway.  

Weighing up to 10,000 pounds each, the trapezoidal stones and forthcoming hand formed glass tears reference the geological and cultural history of Santa Monica that recall Saint Monica, Kuruvungna and the Palisades.  

In October of 2017, Hood led a community walk, above the cliffs through Santa Monica’s Palisades Park, which culminated at the Camera Obscura with a talk about his social art and design practice and the Metro artwork. 

If you’re traveling through Downtown Santa Monica, look up! In the meantime, scroll below for more action photos.

Click here for more information about Metro’s art program. You can also follow Metro Art on Instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr.

Stones loaded for delivery to Downtown Santa Monica Station

32 stones gingerly craned into position

10,000 pound trapezoid in momentary suspension prior to “threading” into place

Only a team, including AP Construction and Dunkel Bros, could build sculpture of this scale

Major milestone reached with finishing touches to come

14 replies

  1. The problem is “Public Art” itself. We don’t all like it, but we all have to look at it and all have to pay for it! I have spent my life in the visual arts and even knew some of the artists who helped write the “Public Art” law that requires X% of a public project’s funds to go to a “Public Art.” I like the idea generally, plus it employs artists. (And, I’m in fact I’m depicted in a Metro “Public Art”–not saying which one. However, when a society legislates art it’s shaky ground–pun not intended. One way to express dislike a “Public Art” is to tear it down as was done recently with the statue of Fr. Serra–just saying–or as the city tried to do years ago with the, now celebrated, Watts Towers. Thus is the nature of “Public Art” in a society that does not really support the arts–starting in grade school. Alas, the USA is more “Sparta” than “Athens”.

  2. “What’s the point of this?” Maybe it’s to serve as “Metro’s Last Stand”?

  3. You know, this is a fine example of what I meant by we were better off not beautifying rail lines and freeways and instead focus on them being useful and compact. You know, a straightforward design?

    Seriously Metro; what was the point of this? It seems like the sidewalk (the one useful thing here) had to actually shrink a bit for this.

    While you’re at it, get rid of that awful thing that stands over the escalators on Vermont/Santa Monica. Literally the best place for Income based TOD compromised by whatever football shaped object it’s supposed to be.

      • What’s the point of not everyone having to like it? I just came back from Seattle this week and comparing their rail expansion to what is happening here I realized Metro really is doing everything wrong. Public Art in itself IS something I appreciate and admire, but putting it on a transit station that compromises the system’s intended purpose (move people quickly) and is prone to vandalism (definitely expect this to get tagged up), then obviously we need to rethink our stupid laws requiring us to do this.

        If “Art” really was the point then they should’ve built the station underground, and have the ground used for art and/or TOD. But of course Metro will continue to use the excuse of money rather than building something.

  4. What a powerful piece! So delicately balancing, both figuratively and literally, the rich woven histories of the regions geological, Indigenous and colonial past. Such a thoughtful site specific response to the space. Thank you Metro, for bringing this work to us!

  5. This project is massive! I truly appreciate how Metro embeds art in every station and how these art experiences encounter us in our regular rides. Exited to see how this project turns out!

  6. A fortified Metro wall? Shade trees would’ve been cheaper and more aesthetically pleasing and actually improve the walking environment than stones on top of concrete and next to a concrete retaining wall.

    • Actually, the area was previously mostly bare dirt with a few plants. It’s still visible in Google Maps or Google Earth like that.

    • They widened the sidewalk when they built the metro. I’m not sure what you are looking at.