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Angelenos invited to explore Metro station artwork in series of public tours

By Hayley Fox
Published: Thursday, April 04, 2013, at 10:41AM
Courtesy of Metro

An art tour of Metro stops throughout L.A. is meant to highlight the more than 300 artists who've contributed works to the public transit system.

Every day throughout L.A.County, throngs of commuters pass by artwork in their local transit station, often without giving the pieces a second glance. Metro officials are trying to change that — through monthly art tours that provide insight into the artists behind the creations.

The first Thursday, Saturday and Sunday of every month, people can meet at a Metro stop and travel (mostly along the Red Line) learning about these works of public art. This Sunday at 10 a.m., people will be meeting at the information booth at Union Station for a two-hour, roundtrip tour.

Although the tour is based along public transit lines, officials caution participants that the tour is 90 percent walking.

Although most Metro funds are focused on establishing better ways to get from Point A to Point B, about .5 percent of rail construction costs go towards obtaining original artwork for the stations. Outside contributions from government groups and corporations also help.

Since 1989, Metro's Art Department has been commissioning pieces of art and have worked with more than 300 artists on projects throughout the county.

Each transit art tour is led by a volunteer from the Metro Art Docent Council.

"While docent programs are commonly found at museums around the world, Metro is the first transit agency to benefit from such a program," says Metro.

Tour guides identify themselves by carrying a megaphone and wearing a yellow safety vest. They will also be the one doling out free TAP cards with a day pass pre-loaded on them, at the start of each tour.

If guided tours aren't your thing, Metro offers an online brochure that includes images of all of the artwork, along with a map, background information and descriptions of the pieces.

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