October 15, 2001

The Chicago Transit Authority welcomed Columbia College President Warrick L. Carter and Columbia College Photography Department Chair Bob Thall as the newest participants in the CTA's Adopt-A-Station Program at the Merchandise Mart Station. The new In-Transit Gallery will feature photography by Columbia College students.

The initial exhibit is entitled ?Home? and features 16 photographs of everyday people and situations. Six Columbia students (four undergraduates and two graduate students) contributed to this inaugural exhibit. Works for this exhibit were selected by a Photography Department faculty committee at Columbia. The exhibit will be changed two or three times a year.

?Through the Adopt-a-Station program, stations are enhanced with the flavor of the local community and become more attractive to our customers," said CTA Chairman Valerie B. Jarrett. ?More than 5,900 people pass through Merchandise Mart Station every weekday, providing a great audience for this exhibit and those in the future."

?We are delighted to ?adopt? the Merchandise Mart 'L' Station," said Columbia College Chicago President Warrick L. Carter. ?The In-Transit Gallery is a win-win situation: It provides an excellent opportunity to showcase Columbia students? work and it lets CTA passengers view some fine examples of what young photographers are doing today."

The Merchandise Mart Elevated Station serves the Brown and Purple Lines, above Wells Street between Kinzie Street and the Chicago River. The In-Transit Gallery is located in the pedestrian bridge over the tracks at the station. The gallery is accessible from the second floor of the Merchandise Mart and is open every day.

Adopt-A-Station is a CTA initiative launched in 1997 to develop partnerships between community organizations, local businesses and individuals. The goal of the program is to create rail stations that reflect the history and diversity of the communities served by the CTA and to position those stations as the gateway to the communities they serve. Stations are adopted for a period of two years.

Adopting organizations are given an opportunity to enhance and revitalize the appearance of CTA rail stations by either commissioning local artists to create murals, sculptures, mosaics, paintings or photographs or to help plan station improvements.

Some adopted stations include the Blue Line at 18th Street with paintings and murals reflecting the Mexican-American heritage in the Pilsen neighborhood. The Chinatown Station on the Red Line features masks and statues that capture that neighborhood's Chinese roots. The Belmont Station serving the Brown and Red Lines was adopted by Ann Sather's Restaurant and features artwork celebrating that neighborhood's diversity. The Armitage and Paulina Stations on the Brown Line and the Randolph Elevated Station downtown have also been adopted. Currently, 13 community groups have adopted 16 CTA rail stations.

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