Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)

IL: Mayor Emanuel and CTA Unveil New Artwork for 8 Red Line South Stations

Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) President Forrest Claypool at the DuSable Museum on June 23 to unveil conceptual renderings of new, original works of art by local artists that will be installed at the eight rail stations between Cermak-Chinatown and 87th Street.

The commissioning of new artwork is the final component to the historic $425 million Red Line South Reconstruction project – a community-focused project that has already directly benefitted the lives of thousands through the creation of more than 1,500 new jobs while also improving the accessibility and quality of affordable CTA rail service.

“The community art work that we’re previewing today is a great example of what a 21st century city does – making our mass transit system not just a vehicle for commerce but also for culture,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Chicago is known around the world for the vibrancy of its arts and today we are bringing this creative spirit and community energy to neighborhoods across the city, enabling more residents to enjoy the best of what Chicago has to offer right in their own backyard while also supporting local artists.”

Last January, the CTA awarded contracts to local artists and an artist team to create new, original artwork that complement existing artwork at the Sox-35th, 47th, Garfield, 63rd, 69th, 79th and 87th Street stations. The artwork commissioned for the Cermak-Chinatown station will be the first permanent piece of public art for the location. The artists include: 

  • Cermak-Chinatown: Indira F. Johnson (Evanston)
  • Sox-35th: Paula Henderson (Chicago)
  • 47th: Andrew Hall (Chicago)
  • Garfield: Cecil McDonald, Jr. (Chicago)
  • 63rd: Emmanuel Pratt (Chicago) and Olalekan Jeyifous  (Brooklyn, NY)
  • 69th: Douglas Fogelson (Chicago)
  • 79th: McArthur Binion (Chicago)
  • 87th: Thomas Lucas (Chicago)

These stations, along with the 95th Street/Dan Ryan Station, were temporarily closed for five months in 2013 to allow crews to completely replace the 10.2-mile stretch of railroad from just north of Cermak-Chinatown to 95th Street. All stations along the branch were upgraded with new lighting, painting, electrical work and other improvements.

“These great artists’ skills and imagination have resulted in impressive artwork that is sure to bring additional color and life to those stations,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool. “These works reflect the uniqueness and diversity of the communities that our stations serve and we are excited that, over the next year, these pieces will be available for our customers to enjoy.”

The CTA issued a Call for Artists in June 2013, and received more than 300 submissions. Contracts were awarded following an evaluation committee’s review of all of the submissions.  Criteria included artistic merit, qualifications and professional recognition of the artists.

The artwork for the eight South Red Line stations is paid for with Transit Enhancement Funds from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The total project budget is $590,400 and includes artist fees, fabrication, shipping/delivery, administrative fees and a project contingency fund. Installation of the artwork is scheduled to begin in late 2014.

Currently, the CTA already has more than 50 works of art at 41 stations along its eight rail lines. This collection of public artwork will expand to include 21 new, original works of art in the coming years as part of the recently completed Red North 7 and Red Line South Reconstruction projects and also as part of the upcoming Wilson Station Reconstruction, 95th/Dan Ryan station reconstruction and the Your New Blue projects. The CTA has hired internationally renowned artist Theater Gates to develop an artwork program for 95th Street, which will be rebuilt and expanded starting in late 2014.

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