Tuesday, February 16, 2010

There's an Art to It

What better way to enliven a means from getting from one place to another? In underground transit systems, the challenge is to overcome the dark, dank tunnel experience and play with those cavernous spaces, really stage-set them. Stockholm is famously the precedent for this, known as the longest art gallery in the world.

It's been around for awhile, but just recently in 2009, Volkswagen featured a staircase enhancement in a commercial that encourages people to use stairs instead of the escalator.

This goes beyond just incorporating art pieces, and creating an entire environment that plays on a theme. In Los Angeles, the MTA took the same approach with its light rail system, incorporating entire environmental integration of specific themes at each of its stations. The architects involved took up the challenge, and it was a fun process with some good payoffs. I was involved with a couple of the stations (Lake Avenue and Hollywood Vine) when Miralles Associates took them on; the MTA has a slideshow of all of the stations that show the different approaches. Take a look, or perhaps even use the public transit!

This ultimately led to a combined venture between the MTA, commercial sponsors and the local arts community. The community arts calendar is publicly available for posting arts events, and combines this with maps and venue information to plan the transit routes. I subscribe to the weekly newsletter, keeps me up to date on what's going on in the art world all over Los Angeles. It's also connected to the announcement listserv I use at Culturenet.

PS More from thefuntheory.com