Back in April, we announced the 17 artists commissioned by Metro Art to create artwork for four stations on the Purple (D Line) Extension’s second and third sections between Miracle Mile and the West LA Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center.
The artists are already getting started. Earlier this summer, commissioned Westwood/VA Hospital station artist Francesco Simeti led a two-day art-making workshop for veterans who live on the campus of the VA. The workshop was a collaboration between Metro Art, the West LA VA Medical Center and the UCLA Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden.
The first day took place at the nearby botanical garden. Veterans explored the natural flora and fauna of the region, which Simeti shared will be featured alongside LA landmarks, in the monumental landscape he is creating for the station. Cole Oost, of the garden, led the veteran group and shared fascinating facts about the living collection. Participants documented plant species, colors and forms through photography and sketches.
On the second day of the workshop, the group gathered in the VA art room at the Domiciliary, a veterans’ residential and medical services facility on the historic VA campus. Participants collaged printed images from the garden visit and continued working on their botanical sketches guided by Simeti. Veterans, some of whom had not made art in decades, were engrossed in the process.
Brenna Partridge, the Recreation Therapist who oversees the VA’s art program, was excited by how the veterans and Simeti inspired each other.
“[One of my patients] used to spend quite a bit of time in the art room, but he hasn’t been around for many months,” shared Partridge. “This project totally re-sparked his interest in accessing his creative/artistic side and is a fun success story on how this collaboration helped someone beyond the workshop.”
Simeti plans to incorporate elements of the veterans’ artworks into his design for the future ticketing area of the Westwood/VA Hospital Station. The idea is to bring a sense of shared ownership to the public artwork once it is installed at the station.
Click here learn more about the station artwork for the Purple (D Line) Extension Transit Project.
Click here to learn about the West LA VA Medical Center and its programs serving the veteran community.
Click here to learn about the UCLA Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden, which is free and open to the public on the UCLA campus seven days a week.