DART News Release
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December 15, 2000
Cityplace Station art reflects geologic & cultural history of urban crossroads
The location of DART's new Cityplace Station, 120 feet beneath North Central Expressway, gives rise to the art and design themes expressed at the station. DART's 21st light rail station opens for service on December 18.
The wall on the opposite side of the platform features deep green and ivory-toned panels highlighting age-old fossils, ancient cultures and the more recent communities who have lived at this historical urban crossroads. This collage includes representations of cowry shells, amulets and even the heel of an old shoe - all artifacts found in the abandoned Freedmen's Cemetery when it was moved during the widening of North Central Expressway near Lemmon Avenue.
Lead artist Bob Barsamian worked with neighbors, local historians, archeologists and school children in creating the evolution-themed design of Cityplace Station. Of the overall station design he says, "We wanted to bring color and light to this underground interior, and I think it's all come together very nicely."
Art & Design program uses community input
As in all DART stations, an art advisory committee representing the neighborhood helped research the history of the area and select design elements reflecting the spirit of the community.
DART's award-winning Art & Design program, initiated in 1990, allows $50,000 public art budget per station. An advisory committee representing regional arts interest oversees policies and site-specific committees for each station.
The idea is to create a unique visual identity for each station in the transit system - and one that reflects the history and spirit of the surrounding community. Some local committees use the entire funds to commission a separate work of art. Others use the budget entirely to fund upgrades to the station like special column coverings or art tiles, as in the case of Cityplace Station. Many neighborhood committees elect to split the funds to commission a work of art, as well as to fund special materials for the station.
The goal of the program is to give local people ownership of the station by involving them in this way. This ownership of a handsome neighborhood station not only helps to prevent graffiti and littering, but also encourages transit-oriented development within the surrounding community.
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