CTA Hires Award-Winning Chicago Artists for Two Downtown Public Art Projects

June 3, 2016

Agency to host community meeting with artists to solicit input for artwork being commissioned for the Washington/Wabash Loop ‘L’ station and Union Station Transit Center

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) today announced the hire of award winning Chicago artists James Jankowiak and Michiko Itatani to commission new, one-of-a-kind artwork to be installed upon completion of project work at the Union Station Transit Center this summer and the new Washington/Wabash Loop ‘L’ early next year, respectively.

Art glass panels featuring the work of Ms. Itatani will be installed at the mezzanine level of the new Washington/Wabash, which will greet riders as they enter and exit the station. At the Union Station Transit Center, the artwork of Mr. Jankowiak will be featured on glass panels underneath the canopied bus patron waiting areas.

These works of art will further enhance the travel experience for both bus and rail riders in the downtown area, and are part of CTA’s ongoing commitment to have artwork at all rail stations and other key transit locations throughout its service region.

To assist the artists as they begin preparing their project renderings, the CTA will host a public meeting on Thursday, June 9, where customers, residents and neighbors will have the opportunity to meet the artists and share input on the art being commissioned for each location: 

CTA Headquarters
567 West Lake Street
2nd Floor, Conference Room B
5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
(Meeting is accessible to people with disabilities)

CTA issued a Call for Artists in December seeking local, national and international artists to submit their qualifications and portfolios for consideration. Chosen from a competitive field of more than 30 artists, Ms. Itatani and Mr. Jankowiak were selected by an evaluation committee based on their artistic merit, qualifications, professional recognition and their written statements of interest.

Under the leadership of Mayor Emanuel, CTA’s collection of public art has nearly doubled since 2011 – currently boasting more than 60 works of art across all eight rail lines. It includes mosaics, art glass and sculptures created by nationally and internationally acclaimed artists, many of whom are local. Over the next few years, CTA’s public art collection will further expand to include more than 10 new works of art, including those announced today.

About Artist Michiko Itatani


Born in Osaka, Japan, Chicago-based Michiko Itatani is a graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she has been Professor of painting since 1979. She has received numerous prestigious awards including the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, two Illinois Arts Council Artist’s Fellowships; and National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. Her work is held in the public collections of Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; the City of Chicago - Harold Washington Library Center; Olympic Museum, Lausanne, Switzerland; American Embassy Permanent Collection, Brasilia, Brazil; Villa-Haiss-Museum, Zell am Harmersback, Germany; Tokoha Museum, Shizuoka, Japan; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea; Musee du Quebec, Quebec, Canada; Museu D’art Contemporani (MACBA), Barcelona, Spain and others.

About Artist James Jankowiak


Born and raised in Chicago’s south side Back of the Yards neighborhood, James Jankowiak has crafted the knowledge and skills honed from his early years as a graffiti artist and applied them to his full-time endeavors as a professional artist, activist and educator. Mostly self-taught, he studied in short-time stints at Columbia College Chicago and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is a contracted teaching artist with the Museum of Contemporary Art since 2003, and also currently teaches throughout the city of Chicago with Urban Gateways, and runs the After School Matters visual arts program, “Contemporary Painting Studio” at Eric Solorio Academy High School on the southwest side. In 2011, he was chosen to design the permanent entrance artwork for the Illinois Holocaust Museum’s Youth Museum. His work has been exhibited widely in Chicago, including at the Museum of Contemporary Art, , SAIC’s Roger Brown Gallery, the Hyde Park Art Center, Johalla Projects and the Chicago Cultural Center. In August of 2016 he will have a solo exhibition of his work at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove, IL. James will also be working with Corner Gallery in the Avondale neighborhood on a new project in 2017.

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