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Two more Blue Line stations will get new public art displays

Written by
Jonathan Samples

Major renovations were recently completed at the Addison and Irving Park Blue Line stations, and now it’s time for the finishing touches. On Wednesday, the Chicago Transit Board awarded two contracts for new public artworks to be permanently displayed at both stations.

Dan Devening, a local artist and adjunct professor of painting at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, was commissioned to complete a piece for the Irving Park station. The Addison display will be done by acclaimed Italian artist Francesco Simeti, who is currently working on public art projects at a New York City subway station and elsewhere throughout the U.S. According to the Chicago Transit Authority, almost 350 proposals were submitted after the city issued a call for artists in February.

It’s still not known what the artwork will actually resemble. Currently, the city has more than 60 public art displays, including everything from paintings and sculptures to mosaics and art glass. The CTA said it will host a series of public meetings in the coming months to gather community input. Devening and Simeti will then use that feedback to develop site-specific displays.

“Original artwork adds tremendous value not only to CTA stations but also to our customers’ overall transit experience,” CTA President Dorval Carter Jr. said in a release. “The addition of new artwork at Addison and Irving Park by these two talented artists will transform these stationhouses into gateways for the surrounding community by reflecting a piece of their story.”

Since 2011, the number of public works of art at CTA facilities has nearly doubled, and the transit agency said its collection will expand further over the next several years. The city announced in February that it would commission works for 10 stations along the Blue, Brown, Green and Pink lines, as well as the CTA’s bus terminal at Chicago Avenue and Austin Boulevard.

Including artist fees, fabrication and delivery, the total cost of the Addison and Irving Park Blue Line projects is expected to be around $200,000. The public art displays will be paid for using Federal Transit Enhancement funds.

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