Light rail stations feature art to connect with 20 miles of communities

Additionally, highly detailed, carved granite benches will provide shaded seating on the platform.
Light rail art and seating, downtown Phoenix (Photo: Dave Seibert, Arizona Republic)

[Source: Casey Newton, Arizona Republic] — The opening of the 20-mile Metro light-rail system on Dec. 27 will coincide with one of the Valley’s biggest art openings in recent years: $6.3 million in sculptures, tiles, and other elements that adorn every station on the line.  Some of the art is monumental, like the giant stone ring sculpture installed at Central Avenue and Camelback Road.  Other pieces are more subtle, like the terrazzo floor at First Avenue and Jefferson Street that features an image of Sandra Day O’Connor, the former U.S. Supreme Court justice from Arizona.  Taken together, though, they bring poetry to the prosaic world of mass transit. “The art helps to tell a story,” said Eric Iwersen, a Tempe planner who sat on the board that oversaw the art program.  “It helps to set us apart from any other system in the world.”

The story that Metro’s art tries to tell is the story of the Valley. Across the line, pieces reflect the neighborhoods around them.  A river-like canopy at Priest Drive and Washington Street in Tempe echoes the nearby Rio Salado.  At Central and Indian School Road, glass panels set into the entryway feature historic photographs of the area.  “It’s really about bringing the character of that community into the station so that we are a reflection of the community,” said Rick Simonetta, CEO of Metro light rail.  More than two dozen artists from around the country contributed to the system’s aesthetic features, with about 40% of them Arizona natives.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

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