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New exhibition at Union Station features L.A. neighborhoods

Show marks beginning of 15th anniversary celebration of “Through the Eyes of Artists” series

OW Staff Writer | 7/6/2017, midnight
Artworks by 12 artists conveying the vitality of transit-accessible Los Angeles neighborhoods are now on view in a new exhibition ...

Artworks by 12 artists conveying the vitality of transit-accessible Los Angeles neighborhoods are now on view in a new exhibition at Los Angeles Union Station.

Titled “Journeys: L.A. Communities through the Eyes of Artists,” artworks commissioned by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) are part of an ongoing series showcasing artists’ personal interpretations of the region, and are now on view inside the passageway gallery that connects Union Station East and West.

The exhibition will also feature artist-led tours throughout the summer. The exhibition and tour kick off a year of activities celebrating this award-winning series that will run through 2018.

“Metro’s Art Program has created yet another visually appealing program to enhance the customer experience here at Union Station,” said John Fasana, Metro Board Chair and Mayor Pro Tem for the city of Duarte. “These new artworks will help raise Union Station’s profile as a cultural destination that all riders can enjoy and give them one more incentive to ride our system.”

Each artwork focuses on a particular neighborhood or city within Los Angeles County and highlights special, often lesser known or under-appreciated facets of those communities. Lush urban gardens, backyard barbeques, street parades, cemeteries and even a fantastical underwater world are among the subjects for these idiosyncratic works of art.

“Artists notice details in our environments that many of us don’t,” said Maya Emsden, head of Metro’s Art and Design Programs. “This exhibition showcases artists’ observations and their distinctive, sometimes quirky interpretations of the communities they know well. We hope that commuters, travelers and others passing through the station are inspired by these artists’ visions to journey to neighborhoods all over the county beyond the more well-known destinations like Hollywood.”

Established in 2003, the Through the Eyes of Artists series was created in the tradition of colorful travel destination posters to encourage riders to explore communities throughout the expanding Metro transit system. The posters are displayed on board Metro trains and buses. More than 40 artists have been commissioned to date.

The12 artists featured in the exhibition and the communities they have highlighted include Jonathan Anderson (Gardena), Walter Askin (Pasadena), Sarajo Frieden (Venice), Wakana Kimura (Inglewood), Christine Nguyen (Long Beach), Mary Ann Ohmit (Azusa), Sam Pace (Leimert Park), Jane Gillespie Pryor (Whittier), Aaron Rivera (Lakewood), Artemio Rodríguez (East Los Angeles), Shizu Saldamando (Little Tokyo), and Edith Waddell (Glendale).

“We are pleased to say that, as our system grows throughout Los Angeles County, we continue to showcase the importance of integrating the arts into the transit experience,” said Phillip A. Washington, Metro CEO. “Metro’s Art Program is award-winning and innovative, and exhibitions like these really help to add vibrancy to our transit properties.”

In addition to the exhibition, the Metro Art Program has organized a series of free artist-led tours of Journeys at Union Station in July, August and September. Interested members of the public are encouraged to attend to learn more about the artworks. The summer tour schedule is as follows:

July 22: Tour led by artists Walter Askin, Sarajo Frieden, and Sam Pace

Aug. 19: Tour led by artists Wakana Kimura, Christine Nguyen and Shizu Saldamando

Sept. 23: Tour led by Jane Gillespie Pryor, Aaron Rivera and Edith Waddel

As part of the yearlong celebration, additional artist-led tours and poster signings are planned and will be announced at a later date.

Initiated in 2014, the Metro Art Passageway Gallery presents artworks that engage a broad range of transit patrons and visitors. The displays are comprised of photographic transparencies, sequentially arranged on large-scale, internally illuminated boxes in the walkway connecting Union Station East and West. Past exhibitions have featured portraiture, architecture and landscapes.

To learn more about the artworks in the series, the Metro Art program or related programs, visit metro.net/art. Metro Art is also on Instagram at instagram.com/metro.art.la, and Facebook at facebook.com/metrola.