Metro Art Visits artworxLA

Guided by the theme of Art and Social Justice: Art in the Community, Alma Villegas (artworxLA's Director of Development and Communications) mentored a cohort of LA County arts interns through a 10-week summer program sponsored by the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture (LACDAC).

On Friday, August 2nd, artworxLA invited Principal Transportation Planner, Arts and Design, LA Metro Jennifer Lieu and Communications Assistant, Arts and Design, LA Metro Angelica Monreal to introduce LACDAC interns to Metro Art, one of the largest public art agencies in the country.

Interns began the day by reflecting on their experiences this summer. Several interns commented that they were pleased they were encouraged to share a “post-Millenial” perspective in the workplace and felt their contributions would be felt long after their departures. While all of them expected to learn new skills, many pointed to specific findings that will assist their future careers; one such finding was the operational differences fiscally-sponsored organizations face.

All interns also shared their most memorable Metro stories:

  • A group from the Valley bonded over their first time taking the trains all the way to Santa Monica Beach -- and reminisced over the 2.5 hours it took it make the trip!

  • One intern recalled the feeling of utter independence that public transportation afforded his teenage self.

  • Another recounted her bus and subway journey to the Women’s March in 2017 and how the unity among her fellow passengers was so powerful.

  • A recent graduate reminisced about her commute to university, as it meant walking the halls of Union Station every day.

Happy to see that nearly everyone had some familiarity with Metro, Jennifer and Angelica began their tour with an introduction to Metro Art’s site-specific collection. Metro Art undergoes a considerable process of commissioning artwork with local significance and, in many cases, ease of maintenance.

Our journey through the Purple Line acquainted us with several iconic LA artists, including:

Sonia Romero with her MacArthur Park, Urban Oasis,2010 located at the MacArthur Park/Westlake Station. These 13 ceramic mosaic tiles capture her observations of the neighborhood with several homages to the park’s 120-year history.

Francisco Letelier with his El Sol / La Luna,1993 also located at the MacArthur Park/Westlake Station. These two murals reference the past, as well as the still unfolding cultural history of the present community.

Frank Romero with his Festival of Masks Parade,1996 located at the Wilshire/Normandie Station. This 60-foot curved mural depicts a now defunct annual parade of masks that was held along Wilshire Boulevard each fall.

Richard Wyatt with his People Coming / People Going,1996 located at the Wilshire/Western Station. These two 52-foot tile murals feature portraits of community members approaching and walking away from the viewer, a metaphor for a city always in transition.

artworxLA thanks Jennifer Lieu and Angelica Monreal for this unique tour of Metro’s free-to-the-public art collection.