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Photos: The CTA Is Showing Off Its Growing Public Art Collection

By Mae Rice in Arts & Entertainment on Apr 13, 2016 4:24PM

Just as we have all noticed that people occasionally poop on the CTA, we have all noticed that some CTA stations are beautiful. To draw more attention to that latter element of Chicago's hallowed public transit system, today the CTA released a catalog of all the public art at L stations across the city.

Right now, that includes more than 60 pieces at more than 50 stations—and the number is growing. Every time the city renovates a station, it gets its own art installation, which means new public art will grace 17 L stations soon.

Installations at four of those 17 stations are already underway. Local art luminary Theaster Gates is working on the most expensive piece of public art the city has ever commissioned—a $1.3 million project—at the 95th Street Red Line station. According to the CTA catalog, Gates' project is a basically unfathomable undertaking:

More than just artwork, Gates’ project fosters community engagement, job creation and provides a student apprentice program. The artwork imagined for this station is an integrated feature in the terminal building and a stand-alonework of art.

Art installations are also underway at the Wilson Red Line station, whose renovations we have been chronicling, and the Blue Line's Damen and Western stops.

(The Western stop is getting a giant sculpture from Edra Soto and Dan Sullivan, if you were curious.)

You can watch the installation process for a recent work, designed by artist Patrick McGee, in the timelapse video below. Filmed in October of 2015, the clip shows contractors installing a resin-tile mural of water lilies on the ceiling of the California Blue Line station. McGee's design was inspired, according to the Tribune, by the lilies in the Humboldt Park lagoon directly south of the station.

See the CTA's 2016 public art catalog here.