The next time you hop on DART Rail, take a close look out the window as the train approaches each station. You'll witness wonderful works of D'ART throughout the system! Launched in 1988, DART's award-winning Station Art & Design Program makes the community a canvas, showcasing uncommon works of public art. In fact, no other institution in the Greater Dallas area offers as much art to the public at no charge. With the completion of the Green Line, DART has added a new wing to its ever-growing art collection!
THE WHOLE IS GREATER THAN THE SUM OF ITS PARTS.
At any rail station, the constituent parts of an art project - from the station canopies and columns to the pavers and landscaping - support the artist's central theme. When you look at a particular project, look for the big picture. See the vision driving these individual elements, and how it reflects the community. The intrinsic design opportunities at each station include the platform paving, the column cladding, the landscape design, the canopy structure and the roof color. From sculptures and gateways to clocks and mobiles, each station applies art elements in a unique way appropriate to a particular community.
FORM FOLLOWS FUNCTION.
In executing the vision, the primary concern is the daily operation of the station. This means the most important considerations include things like pedestrian access, bus boarding, drop off points and, in some cases, a park and ride component. The goal is to create a station that is as usable as it is attractive. Landscaping along the platform, for example, not only enhances the visual aesthetics, it also first and foremost provides shade. From the windscreens and seating to the planters and retaining walls, you can see how a particular artistic element satisfies a rider's basic needs.
The art and design process does not happen quickly. It is a multi-stage process, with adequate time at each stage to allow for due consideration. First, DART hosts a kickoff meeting for the design team - made up of the station artist or artists, architects, engineers, designers, contractors and representatives from DART and the community. While the station artist has the vision, it takes a team of dedicated people to execute that vision. After the kickoff, a community orientation meeting is scheduled, then the team makes a site visit to survey the area.
Subsequently, an artistic values statement is submitted. Then, DART holds its first workshop. This meeting allows the community to explore the unique history of their area to see how that might shape the vision for the station. A second workshop follows where the community zeros in on the chosen vision and how it is to be executed. Finally, the design team reports back with their recommendations so that the site layout process can begin.
COMMISSIONED BY THE COMMUNITY
The artist chosen for each station has an awesome responsibility. It is a responsibility that Charlotte Lindsey - who along with her husband Larry Enge acted as the station artists for Trinity Mills Station and North Carrollton/Frankford Station - took very seriously. "The community is giving you the story, and you have the opportunity to tell that story," Lindsey says.
The artist truly takes the lead on the project, acting as a torchbearer for their neighbors. The architects, engineers, designers and contractors bear the burden of carrying out the artist's vision, which ultimately represents the community's vision.
|THINKING INSIDE THE BOX.
DART's Station Art & Design Program applies its out-of-the-box thinking within specific parameters. It is not enough to just be art; the art has to work. Given the high usage of these projects and their constant exposure to the elements, the design team seeks durable, low-maintenance materials and a cost-effective overall design. The team has to consider how the station's on-going use might affect their finished product, including its resistance to abuse.
The finished design must be compatible with DART's overall system, one that enhances the riders' comfort, safety and security, while also enabling efficient movement. The design must also be reflective of the neighboring community. All of these considerations again demonstrate how the design team's creative skills have to work that much harder than your average right-brained artist.
FOR THE PUBLIC GOOD.
"Public art marks a place as individual and important. It honors the community. It can take something ordinary and make it extraordinary," Lindsey says, adding, "It creates so much excitement in the community, which can be an aspect of community building. It also makes art accessible. You don't have to go into an institution or a gallery if it's in the columns and the paving."
FOR THE ARTIST'S GOOD.
By creating art that makes the community feel good about itself, these artists often find joy themselves.
Baylor Station artist Karen Blessen enjoys seeing her vision at work in daily life.
"I love sitting at the coffee shop near the station, watching people and dogs strolling through the tall grasses in the park, then walking through the park and enjoying the detail and color of the mosaics in the sidewalks," she says.
Philip Lamb, station artist for Bachman Station, points out that having the opportunity to work locally is meaningful.
"Having a public artwork in any community leaves a legacy of one's career as an artist, but it is especially significant when the artwork is in the city in which the artist lives."
In a similar vein, Julie Cohn, the artist for Deep Ellum Station, says these projects leave a lasting legacy for generations to come.
"It is something I am proud to show my 10-year old daughter and know that it will be there when she is old enough to ride DART by herself…it is especially meaningful to me to have it be in Deep Ellum where I officed for a decade, witnessing the ongoing evolution of that neighborhood."
Now that you understand how DART's Station Art & Design Program works, let's explore the finished art along the Green Line.
The Green Line changes everything.™