CTA unveils artwork for Red Line north stations

Art rendering for the Thorndale station on the CTA's Red Line. (CTA handout)

Commuters on the Red Line's north branch will notice a new splash of color at seven stations by the end of the year.

The CTA on Tuesday revealed renderings of the artwork during an event at the Granville station. The agency chose seven artists to carry out the project after 297 applied in the fall.

The seven are Chicago artists Thomas Denlinger, Jim Bachor, Dorothy Hughes, Lynn Basa and Harold Mendez and two from out of state: Kyungmi Shin and DeeDee Morrison.

The $621,000 project is to be paid for with specially designated funds from the Federal Transit Administration.

"The addition of this beautiful artwork that ... in many cases reflects the neighborhoods those artworks are in only adds to the attractiveness of the city of Chicago," Ald. Joe Moore, 49th, said at the event.

The seven stations — Jarvis, Morse, Granville, Thorndale, Berwyn, Argyle and Lawrence — underwent temporary repairs last year and are awaiting funding to be rebuilt entirely. The art will be designed and installed so that it can be removed when that reconstruction takes place. The art is insured for about $55,000, CTA spokeswoman Catherine Hosinski said, which was included in the cost.

Denlinger, the artist and photographer chosen for the Jarvis station, used dozens of photographs for his piece. Expressing a theme of connectivity, he strung together color photos he took of the space between properties on West Jarvis Avenue. Another layer resembles negatives of the photos colored orange.

Basa designed a mosaic for the Argyle station with the goal of accurately depicting the melting pot of Asian cultures on that street.

Basa said local business owners asked her to avoid using cliches and "lumping" the cultures together.

"How do I do justice and respect to such a diverse group?" Basa said she asked herself.

While some might see an abstract array of flowers, Basa said, she sees each shape as an individual, all of whom are in transition.

"You literally have people of all colors here," she said of her planned hand-cut glass mosaic.

The CTA has more than 50 pieces of art at 41 stations along the Pink, Red and Brown lines.

CTA President Forrest Claypool said the CTA has begun looking for artists to create works for the Wilson station and eight Red Line stations on the south branch, which are being renovated and are expected to reopen in October. Artists can apply by going to transitchicago.com/solicitation.

"We often describe our rail stations as gateways to their neighboring communities," Hosinski said. "The addition of the art is something that makes the station more inviting, more appealing."

ehirst@tribune.com

Twitter: @ellenjeanhirst