CTA to Host Community Meeting on Dec. 8 for New Artwork for Austin Bus Turnaround on West Side

December 5, 2016

Residents can meet with artist Shinique Smith and provide input on the artwork that will be created

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has partnered with the Austin African American Business Networking Association (AAABNA) to host a community meeting in the Austin neighborhood to solicit community feedback that will be used to develop new permanent artwork for the CTA bus facility at Austin and Chicago avenues.

Residents will have the opportunity to meet with artist Shinique Smith, who was hired by CTA in September to commission the new, one-a-of-kind artwork and provide input that will be used to develop the artwork concept.

The meeting will be held Thursday, December 8th from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Sankofa Cultural Arts Center, 5820 W. Chicago Avenue. This facility is fully accessible to customers with disabilities.

The Austin bus turnaround, which serves the busy #66 Chicago bus route and nearly 1,000 people each weekday, is the first CTA bus facility to receive a permanent public art installation.

Smith, based in New York, is best known for incorporating discarded personal items into her art, Smith adds inspiring elements of graffiti, Japanese calligraphy and abstraction to create “graceful and spiritual qualities in…the everyday.”

As part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s commitment to expand public art at CTA stations and terminals, CTA’s collection of public art has nearly doubled since 2011 – with more than 60 works of art now a part of all eight rail lines. These pieces include mosaics, art glass and sculptures created by nationally and internationally acclaimed artists, many of whom are local.

Smith was one of nearly 350 artists who responded to CTA’s Call for Artists issued in 2015 for the bus turnaround. The evaluation committee selected Smith based on her artistic merit, qualifications, professional recognition and her written statement of interest.

Smith’s work has been exhibited at prestigious venues including The Studio Museum of Harlem; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Brooklyn Museum of Art; Denver Art Museum; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Bronx Museum of the Arts; The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery (Washington DC); and The New Museum (New York) among others.

CTA expects to install the art in late 2017 or early 2018 Funding is provided by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and will cover the entire project budget, which is not to exceed $200,000 and includes artist fees and the costs of fabrication, shipping/delivery and a project contingency fund.

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