Artists, art enthusiasts and transit riders joined Metro to officially welcome a new public art project, “Vehicle. Destination. Imagination.”, to the Metro transit system at a special dedication ceremony on June 28. Located at the Forest Park-DeBaliviere MetroLink Station, the 36-foot long and 12-foot high mural is the newest addition to Metro Arts in Transit’s public art portfolio.
“Sometimes public art is added to existing infrastructure, like we’ve done here with this wonderful new mural, and at other times it’s incorporated as part of the overall design of the transit system,” said David Dietzel, Chairman of the Bi-State Development Board of Commissioners. “The common thread through all of these examples is that art always plays an important role. And it always should.”
Commissioned by Metro’s Arts in Transit program, the “Vehicle. Destination. Imagination.” mural was created by local St. Louis artists Catharine Magel and Con Christeson. Magel is best known for her mosaic sculptures and large-scale murals, including her ceramic mural on the flood wall along the Mississippi River trail. Christeson has collaborated on several projects for Metro Arts in Transit, creating artwork for the North Broadway and Gravois-Hampton Transit Centers.
“The design of the mural points to a story, a story about the history of the community, and a community’s past, present and future,” Magel said. “The story isn’t my story. It really belongs to everyone.”
“Vehicle. Destination. Imagination.” combines three-dimensional elements with vibrant colors to celebrate the spirit of the St. Louis region. Magel and Christeson engaged with several community groups to develop the imagery and design for the mural, including residents of the Skinker DeBaliviere neighborhood, the community collabARTive of Peter and Paul Community Services, and Angela Hunter Knight and the art students from Crossroads College Preparatory School.
“We engaged the community to help shape the design, and we did it in many different ways,” Christeson said. “It made our final product that much more interesting, and I think everyone will be able to see the influence of that engagement in the mural.”
“At Metro, we are always looking for ways to enhance our infrastructure, to give our passengers a better experience, and to give the neighborhoods we serve a more beautiful and welcoming transit system,” said Ray Friem, Executive Director of Metro Transit. “With the creativity and hard work of our artists and Metro Arts in Transit, we continue to enhance a $2 billion network of transit infrastructure our region has invested in, and ensure it continues to be an invaluable and inviting asset for years to come.”
Metro Arts in Transit has a proud history of enhancing transit infrastructure, beautifying neighborhoods, and bringing art to the community through commissioned artwork and art programs. One of the nation’s earliest transit arts initiatives, Arts in Transit has sponsored hundreds of art events and programs for thirty years. The program is supported by the Missouri Arts Council and the St. Louis Regional Arts Commission.
Metro is the operator of the St. Louis region’s public transportation system, which includes the 87 vehicle, 46-mile MetroLink light rail system; 399 MetroBus vehicle fleet that operates on 78 MetroBus routes in Missouri and Illinois; and Metro Call-A-Ride, a paratransit fleet of 122 vans. Metro is an enterprise of Bi-State Development (BSD), which also owns and operates St. Louis Downtown Airport and its surrounding industrial business park; the Gateway Arch Riverboats, as well as operates the Gateway Arch Revenue Collections Center and Gateway Arch trams. BSD also operates the Bi-State Development Research Institute and the St. Louis Regional Freightway.