Artists’ variation on Ellington: ‘Take the T Line’ 

The San Francisco Arts Commission will unveil on Wednesday a transportation art bonanza, called the Third Street Light Rail Art Enrichment Program.

For a couple of years now, along with the development of Muni’s T-Third Street line, the commission has been putting together a program of "art elements" aimed at reflecting local history and community involvement. If you live in the area or drive through it, you might have noticed the slow, steady evolution of art all over.

Each of Third Street Light Rail’s 28 stations include a variety of artworks — mostly sculptured architectural elements — "to enhance the transit experience for all passengers." And you don’t even need a ticket to have this kind of "transit experience." The stations dot the five-and-a- half mile line that extends from the southern end of downtown San Francisco to the San Mateo County border.

There are pole-mounted sculptures, paving designs, "shadow-caster" canopy panels, and colorful windscreen posters, designed by commissioned artists and artist teams, as well as by young residents of the neighborhoods served by the Third Street Light Rail line.

Look for: "low standard sculptures" by Anita Margrill and Nobuho Nagasawa on eight platforms; a helix sculpture by Bill and Mary Buchen at a UCSF platform; bird mosaics by Horace Washington, Frederick Hayes and JoeSam; the Sunnydale platform’s illuminated pole-mounted sculpture by Margrill and Nagasawa; canopy panels that cast shadows on the platform surface.

The grand plan for project designs called for consideration of history, ecology and culture in each neighborhood; themes were also developed at community meetings.

The variety of artworks along the Third Street Light Rail is the result of years of dedicated work by artists, says Judy Moran, the Commission’s Public Art Project Manager.

"Their designs reflect themes suggested by residents of neighborhoods from Mission Bay to Visitacion Valley," she said. "These unique artworks are incorporated into the overall platform architecture, which reflects the industrial history of this side of San Francisco."

For the youth arts program, artist Sheila Ghidini conducted workshops to explore Bay Area transportation with youth at the Potrero Hill Neighborhood House, the Bayview Opera House and the Visitacion Valley Community Beacon Center over a five-month period, and trained the youth participants in photography, printmaking, drawing, and map-making. These workshops resulted in 40 colorful large-scale windscreen posters designed by the youth for permanent installation on the T-Line platforms.

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Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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