This past fall semester, students from 26 alternative high schools across L.A. County looked to Metro Art for inspiration to create artworks about people and places of significance in their lives.
Each school year, community arts organization artworxLA invites students to participate in two 15-week workshop series in the fall and spring where professional teaching artists guide students to create art that connects to current exhibitions and programs at L.A. museums, theaters and cultural centers.
Selected transit system artworks from Metro’s growing collection were introduced to students by the artworxLA teaching artists. These included Sonder by Kenturah Davis (future Downtown Inglewood Station), City of Dreams/River of History by Richard Wyatt (Union Station), and Second Line by artist brothers Jamex and Einar de la Torre (Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station).
Metro Art program staff worked with artworxLA to share information about Metro’s transit system and services, arts and cultural programming, and art collection with the students.
Their resulting artworks were presented in early December when artworxLA hosted a virtual showcase. Students shared how the public artworks inspired their own creations and presented their proposed public artworks online. They created visual arts, media and performance-based projects on subjects like people and places in their neighborhoods, maps of important landmarks and events in their lives, and countries from which their families immigrated.
During the workshops where students developed their creative work, teaching artists connected the transit experience with the students’ personal histories and ties to L.A. County by discussing each artwork using questions to drive the imagination:
“Have you ever wondered about what everyone riding on the bus or train is thinking about or what their lives are like? Do they ever wonder about me? I often see the same people when I ride transit and we acknowledge each other but never talk with each other. Sometimes it can be ok to talk or maybe we need to protect ourselves/space instead. How do we protect ourselves and our space but also engage with others who are familiar to us?” (Sonder by Kenturah Davis)
“How many different people have passed through the station over time? There have been so many people and with so many different backgrounds.”(City of Dreams, River of History by Richard Wyatt)
“How do you create a sense of wonder in the world and/or in your own space?” (Second Line by Jamex and Einar de la Torre)
Learn more about artworxLA and the student presentations here.