Chicago’s Brown Line El: Arts in Transit

Sedgwick Brown Line El Art Photo

A CTA program has brought more color to the Brown Line, like this art at the Sedgwick stop. (Photos by Camelia Rodriguez and Cheryl Waity).

Audio Slideshow: Tour the Brown Line’s artwork stop-by-stop. Music provided rights-free by PodSafeAudio.com.

By Cheryl Waity and Camelia Rodriguez

Five-year-old Thomas stood with his mother waiting in front of the glass and mirror mosaic at the CTA Brown Line Sedgwick stop.

“I like the different colors,” Thomas said. “It’s like a rainbow.”

Thomas is just one of many El patrons who appreciate “The Countdown to a New Brown” program’s Arts In Transit initiative.

Arts In Transit is a combined project of the CTA and the City of Chicago’s Public Art Program, administered by the Department of Cultural Affairs. The Public Art Program hosted a competition to see which artists or artist teams would be featured in one of the 18 newly redesigned Brown Line stops.

The selection process included the CTA, members of the Public Art Program, and even members of the community and community forums were held for locals of each station to weigh in.

Chicago's Brown Line El Train Photo

Chicago's Brown Line El train.

The Arts In Transit project is not limited to just the rehabbed stations along the Brown Line.

Elizabeth Kelley, the director of the Public Art Program, said the project was established in 2004 after successful commissioning and installation of artwork in several Blue Line stations. They then decided to install art in the rehabbed Brown Line stations and along some of the Red Line Dan Ryan.

“As with other installations of permanent public artwork, the variety of mosaics and sculptures of the CTA Arts in Transit Program contributes to the daily experience of living, working or visiting Chicago,” Kelley said. “The artwork enhances the CTA customers’ experience and provides a cultural asset to the communities served by the CTA.”

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