September 8, 2011

U is for Urban Art

On my business trips from Asia to America, I am sometimes able to add a a few days to meet up with a friend. One such rendezvous happened in June of 2003 with my longtime friend Leesa, an urban art consultant in Vancouver. 

Leesa works with municipalities and developers to integrate commissioned art into public spaces in order to create significance for the people who use those spaces. (We are not talking graffiti.)

She wanted to check out how the Los Angeles Metro was implementing its highly praised public art program, and I was game to tag along. 
From bus stops to rail stations, streetscapes to bus interiors, construction fences to poetry, Metro’s Art Department has commissioned more than 300 artists since being established in 1989. [source]
We explored the Green Line and were delighted with the way artists had woven their stories into the environment: walls, ground, seats, stairs.


Here are just a few of the photos I got. You can read about the artists and their project descriptions on Metro's excellent website.

[photos enlarge when clicked]




Los Angeles, 2003

Do you agree with me that Metro achieved its goal?
Metro commissions artists to create engaging and thought-provoking artworks to make your journey more inviting and pleasurable. The artworks weave a multi-layered cultural tapestry that mirrors Los Angeles County’s rich contemporary and popular cultures.
Besides having quality face-to-face time, Leesa and I had a blast riding the Metro. Today you can take a free Metro Art Tour on the first Thursday and Saturday of the month. When next I return to LA, I will surely continue to explore this people-friendly transit system.

U is the letter at Jenny's Alphabe-Thursday. Go check out how others creatively play with this letter.

23 comments:

☆☆Mumsy said...

Oh I totally agree with you that LA achieved its dream in bringing art to the area. They are absolutely gorgeous too, and lively.

Dina said...

This is great. Fun art.

Jen said...

These types of art displays always catch my interest...especially when they are just in the middle of somewhere unexpected.

Denise said...

I certainly do, wonderful way to travel with so many interesting works of art around.

Cezar and Léia said...

Bonjour dear Francisca,
So nice to have this opportunity to meet friends, glad for you!
The artwork there is beautiful, I love your pictures!The artists are very talented!
Hugs
Léia

joo said...

It looks fantastic and should be the good example to follow! I love the first photo, and the mosaic with lizard - lovely!
Have a nice weekend, Francisca:)
j.

jabblog said...

I think this is a wonderful project. Colourful, humorous, thought-provoking,pretty, clever - it's everything:-)

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

Wow! I agree! What a great project...

I think I need to go there on my next road trip...

storybeader said...

that's great! I love walking around cities that have public art. Just visited Minneapolis - St. Paul, and loved it! What a surprise for me! {:-Deb

LibrarySnake said...

Ooh, very cool :)

http://carabossesbedchamber.blogspot.com/2011/09/alphabet-thursday.html

EG Wow said...

I have never before wanted to visit LA but you have convinced me that I could be missing something very special.

Kay L. Davies said...

Oh, what fun, Francisca. I've been trying to convince Dick to tack on a day in LA before and after our cruise out of San Diego next spring, and this is super. He just explored the art in Moscow's Metro last month and was greatly impressed.
I love the words they've put into those stairs. Some of them crack me up, like "negaholic", "ordeal therapy", and, for some reason, "lock-up option".
We have friends and relatives in LA to visit, too. Usually I cringe at the thought of flying into LAX but suddenly I feel more open to the idea.
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Judie said...

I firmly believe in public art, and sit on a county board that picks artists for projects. Our lives are so hectic these days that having art around us is important to sooth our souls!! Good post!!!

Pondside said...

I love coming upon are in a public space - it makes me stop and breath and think and somehow feel more human and connected to my surroundings.

JM said...

Great set! The stairs are so cool.

Vicki/Jake said...

Amazing to say the least. I marvel at the minds who create things like this. Love the stairs the best:) Thanks for sharing...

Carola said...

Awesome post. I love this urban art. I agree with you that Metro achieved its goal! I wish my tram and train would have a bit from this.
Francisca your way of telling a story, giving information and the good photography is outstanding.

The Cello Strings said...

lovely art on those steps.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I love this post. Makes me want to get to a big City. This is great urban art, definitely achieved the purpose. -- I love that they have those free riding days to explore it.

And those stairs are positively wonderful. I'd want to go up and down over and over just to make sure I didn't miss anything. Love them.

Cheryl D. said...

As an LA girl, who used to work downtown and take the red-line in (during 2003!), I had a blast reading this post. Since I only visited about 4 stations, at most, I have never seen most of this art work!

Thanks for the great post!

Evelyn said...

Interesting works. Love the last pic - the hand... and the steps...
Good to know about the freebies. :) No plan to go to LA, but who knows.

♥α§ђ£ε¥™♥ said...

Those steps would have me tripped out....I'd be trying to read them as I went up or down....ha. It would take me forever to climb a flight of stairs! Nice U

~Ashley~

Jenny said...

My favorite is the steps! And what a cool job your friend has!

It looks like she certainly accomplished her goal, though.

I think that might be possibly be my dream job. Even though I didn't know such a thing existed before I read this post!

Thanks for an interesting link!

A+