Public Art

Public Art

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is a living, interactive gallery of unique works of art and architectural design elements that reflect the cultural influences of the men and women who have lived and worked in the communities we've served for more than a century.

Since 2011, under the leadership of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, our collection of public art has undergone its largest expansion ever – doubling in size and featuring more than 80 works of art and significant architectural details across the system, including mosaics, sculptures and paintings by both up-and-coming and marquee talent.  

Public transit is more than just a means to and from work or school, it’s also an opportunity to learn and inspire with each trip taken.The investments we’ve made in public art and architecture are a reflection of how much we value our riders and the communities we serve by providing riders with a friendlier, more inviting atmosphere, while also providing a glimpse into the rich history and unique characteristics of the surrounding neighborhoods. 

What's new

Cover of coffee table book Elevated: Art and Architecture of the Chicago Transit Authority

For the first time ever, our collection of public art and architecture are celebrated and chronicled in detail in the new Elevated: Art and Architecture of the Chicago Transit Authority -- a 448-page hardcover book that serves as a guide to the more than 70 works of art and 24 significant architectural elements featured across our rail and bus system. The book features stunning visuals captured through the lens of Chicago photographer Aron Gent, as well as essays by world-renown, Chicago-based artist and architect Iker Gil, as well as Chicago’s official Cultural Historian, Tim Samuelson.

Proceeds from the book, which is available for purchase via CTAgifts.com, will support our public art program.

Complementing the launch of this book, we've also partnered with the Chicago Architecture Center (CAC) to create two new, ‘L’ tours that showcase select station art and architectural details featured in the new book. These new tours, one covering Chicago’s South Side and the other the North Side, will be offered from the CAC in early 2019. The new tours will join the popular, current CAC ‘L’ tour Elevated Architecture: Downtown ‘L’ Train. Additional details regarding the CAC tours will be made available in the coming weeks.  

 

 

On this page:

 

Future art installations

We are planning to add more works of art to our growing collection at the following locations over the next few years, including:

cIndicates an art installation project already underway with a commissioned artist/artist team.

Many of the pieces featured in our public art collection are a result of the Arts in Transit Program – funded by the Federal Transit Administration and coordinated locally through CTA, the City of Chicago Public Art Program, and the Chicago Department of Transportation. A number of other pieces were created through our former Adopt-A-Station program and through partnerships with local artists and organizations, including Gallery 37, Chicago Public Art Group and Marwen.

 

Art projects underway

 

95th/Dan Ryan

Red Line
Theaster Gates, Artist

Upon completion of a $280 million reconstruction project, the 95th Street Terminal will be the showcase station of the entire CTA system—and a premier multimodal transportation terminal in the region. The crowning jewel to this momentous project will be the largest public art project in the agency’s history – a $1.3 million endeavor by internationally acclaimed Chicago artist Theaster Gates. More than just artwork, Gates’ project fosters community engagement, job creation and provides a student apprentice program. The artwork imagined for this station is an integrated feature in the terminal building and a stand-alone work of art.

an extended song of our people (AESOP)

Artist Theaster Gates' conceptual rendering of a new art installation for the north terminal building at the 95th Street Red Line station.

Artist Theaster Gates' conceptual rendering of "an extended song of our people (AESOP)" -- the new art installation for the north terminal building at the 95th Street Red Line station.

Planned for location in the North Terminal, this space will become a DJ booth that provides commuters with real-time audio programming and live music hosted by a regular weekday DJ, featuring DJs in-residence, musicians, poets, and community members.

This project was conceived in response to five community engagement meetings with South Side residents. Neighbors responded with a strong interest in developing a living space that would allow for the celebration of past achievements, to showcase current talent, and for the space to be a symbol of hope.

This space is designed to be:

  • A public broadcast studio that area residents can take over at key moments to present public projects, live music performances, interviews, conversations, and debate—a kind of town hall within the CTA;
  • A partnership with other charitable organizations specializing in recording the stories of black and brown people to ensure that historical and present voices are heard;
  • And a platform to celebrate local talent, both in the construction and design of the sound studio, in the ongoing implementation of the space by local DJs, and in the development and training of new DJs through workshops on music, sound, and audio production.

 

america america

Artist Theaster Gates' conceptual rendering of america, america – the new public art planned for the south terminal building at the 95th Street Red Line station.

 

Artist Theaster Gates' conceptual rendering of "america, america" – the new public art planned for the south terminal building at the 95th Street Red Line station.

Two large tapestries, to be located in the South Terminal, are made from colorful strips of decommissioned fire hoses and galvanized steel. The tapestries, signature works within Gates’ artistic practice, are reflections on the importance of the civil rights movement and the struggle and acknowledgement that the work of equity and equality is an ongoing effort not carried by one people, but by all.

 

Western (O’Hare Branch)

Blue Line
Edra Soto and Dan Sullivan, Artists

Western_Blue_Thumbnail_(web)

New public artwork created by Chicago artists Edra Soto and Dan Sullivan will enhance the Western station, which received minor upgrades as part of the $492 million Your New Blue modernization project. Selected from more than 100 applicants, the new artwork by Soto and Sullivan is expected to be a large-scale sculptural embellishment for the stationhouse exterior.

 

 

Locations of Selected Art

 * Indicates locations featuring new art installations since 2010. 

Brown Line Art

Kimball
Kedzie

Francisco
Rockwell
Western
Damen
Montrose
Irving Park
Addison
Paulina
Southport
Belmont
Wellington
Fullerton*
Armitage
Sedgwick
Chicago
Merchandise Mart

Washington/Wabash*

Purple Line Art

Howard
Wilson*
Belmont
Wellington
Fullerton*
Armitage
Sedgwick
Chicago
Merchandise Mart

Washington/Wabash*

Red Line Art

Howard
Jarvis*
Morse*
Granville*
Thorndale*
Berwyn*
Argyle*
Lawrence*

Wilson*
Addison
Belmont
Fullerton*
Roosevelt
Cermak-Chinatown*
Sox-35th*
47th*
Garfield*
63rd*
69th*
79th*
87th*

Yellow Line Art

Howard

Pink Line Art

54th/Cermak
Kostner
Pulaski
Central Park
Kedzie
California
Western
Damen
18th

Washington/Wabash*

Blue Line Art

Cumberland
Harlem
California*
Damen*
Jackson*
Illinois Medical District*

Orange Line Art

Roosevelt
Pulaski

Washington/Wabash*

Green Line Art

Cermak-McCormick Place*
Roosevelt

Washington/Wabash*
Morgan*
Conservatory-Central Park Drive

Art at other CTA facilities

CTA Headquarters
Union Station Transit Center*

 

Additional information

Download our 2016 public art booklet:

Public_Art_Catalog_Button

PDF icon 2016 cta public art booklet (.pdf)

 

Press releases:

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