Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Public Art of the Foothills: New Station Art Shows Local Heritage

From Arcadia to Azusa, cultural heritage is beautifully showcased by public art at six new transit stations.  

After years of planning and design, Foothill communities can enjoy their first spring of local rail service since the era of the Red Car.  Six foothill cities now have new Gold Line transit stations full of artistic and cultural features.  

Station art at each stop greets visitors with images of local history, heritage and lore -- sculptures, colorful mosaics, pavement medallions and even song lyrics can be seen on station platforms and nearby plazas.  Each community partnered with the Gold Line Foothill Extension Authority's station art staff to create these artistically engaging transit spaces.  We preview the station art highlights, all which are accessible on or near station platforms, day and night, 24/7.

ARCADIA STATION:  "Arcadian Zephyr" (2016) by Michael Davis 

"Arcadian Zephyr" brings images from Arcadia's garden and horse-racing heritage to its station platform and plaza, where peacocks and horses embellish guardrails, canopies, benches and a weathervane sculpture.

Detail of weathervane sculpture
"Arcadian Zephyr" by Michael Davis
City founder Lucky Baldwin brought peacocks from India in the 1890s for Arcadia's neighborhoods, and they have long made their home at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden. Peacock feather images were designed into the platform canopy, and themes and colors from the Santa Anita Racetrack were designed onto granite benches and stainless steel fence panels. 

Placed as a focal point on the station platform, Michael Davis' 22-foot weathervane sculpture uses both botanic garden and racetrack images to reveal the "zephyr" or "gentle breeze" of the Arcadian landscape. The sixteen individual weathervanes depict horses, butterflies, hummingbirds and flowers, crowned by a peacock.

MONROVIA STATION:  "River of Time" (2016) by Cha-Rie Tang

Monrovia's station art is guided by artist Cha-Rie Tang's concepts of stream and mountain where "running water is a potent force guided by the esthetics of chance."

Bas relief tiles
At the platform's ramp entrance is
Cha-Rie Tang's "mountain" -- a 7-foot sculptural rock from China, carved over the centuries by flowing water.  Her "glittering stream" surrounds the rock with glass insets, stemming from the hand-glazed water-color tiles along the nearby ramp.  On the platform, support columns are surrounded by decorative bas relief ceramic tiles evocative of the California Arts and Crafts Movement as well as the artist's own creations.
MONROVIA STATION:  1629 S. Myrtle Avenue, Monrovia

DUARTE / CITY OF HOPE STATION:  "Spirit of the San Gabriel River" (2016) 

by Andrea Myklebust and Stanton Gray Sears

Myklebust and Sears' station art for Duarte represents the cultural history of the San Gabriel river area with sculptural columns and pavement tiles bearing images of California Live Oak leaves and acorns, Gabrielino-Tongva baskets, citrus fruit and blossoms, and traditional Mexican carved leather saddle designs.
Citrus-themed bronze
pavement medallion

Prominent on the station platform are three 11-foot, 3,300 lb. steel column sculptures with hand-carved Indiana limestone capitals. Surrounding the sculptural columns are 8" by 8" square bronze bas relief pavement medallions with fruit and flower images found on historic citrus crate labels. The placement of these medallions spreading out from the sculptures is meant to represent the growth of a citrus grove expanding towards the horizon.
DUARTE / CITY OF HOPE STATION:  Duarte Road west of Highland Avenue, Duarte

IRWINDALE STATION:  "Pioneros de la Rivera de San Gabriel" /

 "Pioneers of the San Gabriel River" (2016) by Robin Brailsford

Artist Robin Brailsford created pavement medallions and poetry for the Irwindale station.  Two hundred hand-made pavement medallions are dispersed across the station platform, and guardrail panels are stenciled with her poem "Axis Mundi: A Song of Irwindale."

Lithomosaic pavement
Using a Lithomosaic technique, the blue and green glass and stone mosaic medallions are intended to represent the blue San Gabriel river and each community resident's green Tree of Life (Arbol de Vida).

Stenciled into the guardrail panels are the words to "Axis Mundi: A Song of Irwindale," a poem composed by Brailsford in English and Spanish which includes surnames from the Irwindale Centennial Directory.
IRWINDALE STATION:  16000 Avenida Padilla, Irwindale

AZUSA DOWNTOWN STATION:  "A Passage Through Memory" (2016) 

by Jose Antonio Aguirre

The Azusa Downtown station presents the strongest architectural feature along the Gold Line with two arches that serve as symbolic portals to the station platform.  Colorful mosaic panels on both arches and columns, surrounded by native rock pavement, reflect the community's history and cultural diversity.

Glass mosaic surrounding
a canopy column
The pair of 16-foot arches made from glass fiber reinforced concrete and painted steel follow the Spanish Colonial style.  
The crown motif displays "Azusa" in the original style from 1923, enhanced by evening illumination.  

The colorful images on Aguirre's glass mosaic panels are interpretations of local Gabrielino-Tongva pictographs as well as native basket weaving and drawing traditions.  Pavement blocks of local aggregate rock are also dispersed throughout the platform area.   

APU / CITRUS COLLEGE STATION:  "Azusa Horticultural Paradise" (2016) 

by Lynn Goodpasture

The horticultural theme at the APU/Citrus College station platform is continued to the adjacent parking structure and Citrus Avenue rail bridge.  Colorful mosaics of fruit and flowers adorn four platform benches, and palm tree motifs are applied to canopy panels, embossed pavement patterns, and rail bridge panels.

Glazed ceramic mosaics cover
sculptural concrete benches
The glazed ceramic mosaics covering the seats and sides of four concrete platform benches are the most visually striking features.  The palm tree motif in the overhead canopy is reflected by striped green and yellow art glass panels.

Beyond the station platform, the palm tree motif continues in the embossed pavement patterns at the entrance to the parking garage and elevator, and in formed concrete rail bridge panels at the Citrus Avenue overpass.
APU / CITRUS COLLEGE STATION:  905 S. Citrus Avenue, Azusa

>>More on Foothill Gold Line Station Art:

Art of the Journey - The Foothill Gold Line
Art of the Journey - The Foothill Gold Line (audio tours, station art information)