The Chicago Transit Authority welcomed the Live Bait Theater as the newest participant in the CTA's Adopt-A-Station Program at the Sheridan Station on the Red Line. Participating in the celebration were CTA President Frank Kruesi and Live Bait Theater Artistic Director Sharon Evans, along with other elected officials and community representatives.
The adoption of the Sheridan station by the Live Bait Theater is a visual tribute to Chicago writers. Each mural that was installed in the station features a short literary quote inspired by a notable Chicago writer who found poetic inspiration as they rode the trains. Featured writers include Ben Hecht, Carl Sandburg, Edna Ferber and Richard Wright.
The quotes painted on scenery fragments are from Live Bait's (and Prop Theater's) 1997 theater production 1,001 Afternoons in Chicago, written by Ben Hecht and adapted by Paul Peditto. By creating a theatrical space for CTA customers to move through every day, Live Bait hopes to offer CTA riders a pleasant and unique commuting experience.
The designs and murals are by Mary Griswold. The Chicago writers? portraits are by Steve Musgrave. Steve's original portraits are on display at the Near North Branch Library, 310 W. Division. Mr. Musgrave is the same artist who adopted the Red Line station at Addison.
?Reaching out to the Live Bait Theater as well as other organizations through our Adopt-a-Station program, is another way for the CTA to interact with the communities it serves," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?By making stations more inviting, we also hope to attract new customers to public transit."
?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. ?The more than 27,000 people who use the Sheridan Station every week will now get a greater feel for the writers who have left a mark on Chicago's rich culture."
?Live Bait Theater is pleased to participate in this creative program with the CTA," said Live Bait Artistic Director Sharon Evans. ?Train stations have often been esthetic experiences adorned with paintings and murals, such as the Metro stations of Paris, and there is no reason why Chicago's own train system should not have visually striking stations. We are happy to join the Addison and Belmont stops as artistic interludes for Chicago's commuters. We are very grateful to the Richard Driehaus Foundation for its generous support of this project and the 23rd Police District's CAPS office for its encouragement." Live Bait Theater is located only three blocks from the Sheridan 'L' stop.
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 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. Recently, the Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce adopted the Cermak-Chinatown Station on the Red Line. Currently, 14 community groups have adopted 27 CTA rail stations.
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