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November 13, 2012

Oldest Part of Metro System to be Updated to Improve Local Communities

Dianne Williams
Director of Communications

St. Louis, MO- As promised, Metro Transit is upgrading the oldest part of the MetroLink system. Through Metro’s Arts in Transit Program, 10 new art works will be created and installed across the Metro system over the next several years. Seven of those MetroLink projects will be funded 100 percent with federal stimulus money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Those stations are the Stadium MetroLink Station, Wellston MetroLink Station, Union Station MetroLink Station, UMSL South MetroLink Station, CWE MetroLink Station, Arch-Laclede’s Landing MetroLink Station, and Lambert-St. Louis International Airport MetroLink Station. Funding for the remaining three, Forest Park-DeBaliviere MetroLink Station, Riverview Hall MetroBus Transit Center, and the future Downtown Transit Center, will come from Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grants where 80 percent of the each project will be funded with federal money and 20 percent with local funds.

The first project is completed and tomorrow Metro will dedicate new bronze sculptures at the Wellston MetroLink Station.

When: Wednesday, Nov. 14, 10 a.m.

Who: Metro President and CEO John M. Nations
Wellston Mayor Linda Whitfield
Wellston Councilwoman Gracie White
Artist Mary Lucking

What: Ceremony to dedicate a newly installed set of sculptures at the Wellston MetroLink Station titled “Everyone Appreciates a Punctual Train”, by artist Mary Lucking

Where: Wellston MetroLink Station
6402 Plymouth Avenue
St. Louis, Missouri 63133

“Mary Lucking is well-known for the work she’s done that’s been incorporated into urban and rural walking and biking trails, public transit stations, college campuses and neighborhood parks nationwide,” said David Allen, Director of the Metro Arts in Transit Program. “We’re thrilled that one of her creations is now a focal point of one of our stations and a part of the landscape of our community.”

Created by Lucking, the sculptures depict ten birds and one squirrel staring intently at a bronze clock. Lucking’s life-sized bird and squirrel sculptures populate the entryway and platform rafters at the Wellston MetroLink Station. In keeping with her goal of creating pieces that respond to the unique qualities of the area, Lucking took time to sit at the station and examine the animals that live there; squirrels, cardinals, bluebirds, robins, and woodpeckers.

She observed how transit users are constantly looking at their watches while waiting for the train, and how differently animals experience the same space because they aren’t captivated by the anticipation of things to come. In response to her observations, Lucking designed the bronze birds and squirrel to serve as company for people sitting on the platform, with the hope of encouraging transit passengers to experience the world as the animals do – free from clocks and schedules.

“Everyone Appreciates a Punctual Train” is one of many works Lucking has created to help people explore and understand the environments and communities where they live. Her work ranges from large-scale, permanent artworks to temporary interactive installations. This latest work of art was created through the labor intensive processes behind bronze casting. After the initial research and planning phase, each animal was hand sculpted
by Mary into clay, around which wax molds were created and refined, before pouring the bronze, finishing the metal and finally applying patina.

“My philosophy is to create public spaces where people can slow down, experience the outside world, and have the opportunity to meet other people in their communities. Every project starts from the place,” noted Lucking. “I believe working in the public sphere is a gift: Being out in the world, learning about the people who live and work in the places that I am designing for enriches and enlivens my artwork.”

The three-time Americans for the Arts Public Art Year in Review award winner currently lives and works in Phoenix, Ariz., but her work can be seen all across the country. Her commissions include pieces for the cities of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, Tucson, Glendale, Nashville, and Houston, and she has shown work at the Chicago MCA, SIGGRAPH, MoCA Tucson, Sony Berlin, Cheekwood Museum, the Boston Cyberarts Festival, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, University of Michigan, Arizona State University, and Vanderbilt University.

For more information on the upcoming dedication of Lucking’s work at the Wellston Station, members of the media can reach Dianne Williams from Metro Transit at 314-565-7048.

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