Thinking about artwork along the new South/Central/Extension and Downtown Hub | Valley Metro
Render of future station art

Artwork that gets you thinking. It goes into planning new art for light rail stations along the South/Central Extension and Downtown Hub.

stained glass artwork

I always find it interesting to look at station art while riding the light rail. I look at the clasped cast bronze hands at the Dorsey Lane and Apache Boulevard station standing 21-feet high, towering over the entryway and wonder how did the artist come up with the design.

Render of future station art

I discovered what goes into the planning and implementation of artwork by turning a blank canvas into a work of art. I learned Valley Metro wants dynamic and place-making artwork that gets you thinking.

M B Finnerty, Valley Metro’s Public Arts Administrator, said, “ideally, the artwork will merit a repeated viewing. We’re looking for something easy to maintain and good value for the money, but most of all, something that the community can be proud of,” Finnerty said.

Render of future station art

Translating what may seem like a fantastic first concept into a feasible work of art that satisfies the requirements of safety, security, operations, maintenance, and constructability can be challenging.

 

“Obviously the artwork can’t impede the purpose of any of our stations or facilities as they safely accommodate many passengers.  So, looking out for the Americans with Disabilities Act and other concerns is foremost. We work closely with the architects to ensure the art is integrated into the stations,” Finnerty said.

 

Installation of new artwork begins within a few weeks. “The Downtown Hub artwork is going in almost immediately after the Super Bowl,” Finnerty said.

 

Local Native American artist Janelle Stanley is developing artwork for three stations in the downtown area. According to Finnerty, Stanley emphasizes the historical contributions of three cultures in central Phoenix: Hispanic, Asian, and African American, as well as a nod to the ancient Huhugum canal builders. The new sculptures are inverted pyramids with concrete bases, a middle tile section, and stained glass at the top.

 

The new artwork along the extensions will definitely bring the stations to life while allowing us time to think during our commute.

Mark Carlson
Mark Carlson
Rail Operations Communications Specialist
Mark Carlson is an Operations Communications Specialist with Valley Metro. He brings 40 years of newsroom experience to his position including working as a newsroom supervisor for 23 years with The Associated Press in Washington, D.C., and Phoenix. In addition to serving as a writer, editor, anchor, and reporter for radio stations in Phoenix and Los Angeles, he also worked as a television assignment editor and digital news writer and editor in Phoenix and Baltimore. A Phoenix native, Mark attended Maryvale High.