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July 13, 2010

Honey, Where’s My Metro Pass? Art Installed at St. Charles Rock Road MetroLink Station

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Honey, Where's My Metro Pass?.Most of us have been there.  We’re sitting on MetroLink and the fare inspector is making her way down the aisle.  Quick, where did we put our Metro pass?  We ruffle through our backpack, empty our pockets, and apologize profusely until we produce the pass or ticket triumphantly from its deep hiding place.  That moment, common to many Metro riders, was the inspiration for the new art sculpture installed at the St. Charles Rock Road MetroLink Station, Honey, Where’s My Metro Pass?, by local artists Nick Lang and Thad Duhigg.  Lang and Duhigg, both of the Department of Art and Design at Southern Illinois University and Edwardsville, worked with student apprentices from St. Louis ArtWorks to create the concept for the piece. Today, the artists, students and staff from ArtWorks, Metro employees and supporters gathered at the Rock Road Station to dedicate the sculpture, which is fabricated in bronze, steel and aluminum.

Honey, Where's My Metro Pass? Dedication Ceremony

From left to right: Arts in Transit Director David Allen, artist Nick Lang, St. Louis ArtWorks apprentice Aaron Hamilton, artist Thad Duhigg, and Metro Board Commissioner Kevin Cahill

ArtWorks student apprentice Aaron Hamilton, who is completing his fourth year as a summer apprentice, joined in the celebration. During a 2007 summer art class led by Lang and teaching artist Allen Kmetz at ArtWorks, the students provided concepts, designs and models that helped inspire the sculpture.  The students began studying MetroLink passengers to look for common objects that could be used to represent their commuting experience.  The apprentices then created artistic models to illustrate them.  Honey, Where’s My Metro Pass? includes a set of keys and keychain, coin change, a stick of lip balm and a crumpled receipt.  As part of the St. Louis ArtWorks program the apprentices earn minimum wage while working five days a week on art projects that will be sold or shown publicly.  This sculpture, a collaboration between local artists, youth, and the arts community, will now be available for all transit riders in St. Louis.

Honey, Where's My Metro Pass Student Apprentice

Aaron Hamilton, one of the apprentices in a 2007 St. Louis ArtWorks class that provided concepts, designs and models that helped inspire the sculpture.

The sculpture is part of Metro’s Arts in Transit program that seeks to enhance communities and the transit experience through public art that appears throughout the design and environment of the transit system.  What’s your favorite piece of public art on the Metro system?

Honey, Where's My Metro Pass?

Artist Nick Lang's daughter enjoying her father's work.

9 thoughts on “Honey, Where’s My Metro Pass? Art Installed at St. Charles Rock Road MetroLink Station”

  1. Jimmy Z says:

    Art criticism is always tough – like they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I don’t claim to know all installations, but three that come to mind (that I like) are the mobiles at the Shrewsbury station, the LED ceiling sculpture at Wash U and the Poetry in Motion series on various vehicles.

    One question – when will the undulating lights be restored under Kingshighway? I know that maintenance and conservation ain’t as sexy as today’s photo op, but part of owning art is maintaining it . . .

    1. Courtney says:

      I love the LED lights at Wash U too. Did you know those lights are effected by the incoming trains and number of passengers in the station? Too cool. In regards to your question re: the lights at Kingshighway, we are in the process of getting the lights restored. The copper wiring was stolen, and we have to coordinate with BJC to get in and rewire, and the Engineering department is working on it.

  2. RTBones says:

    What I find interesting about this article is that it focuses on the work itself, and not the station around it – or the piece’s installation. Other than “at the Rock Road Station,” there is no mention of WHERE at the station the piece is installed. North side? South side? Is it on the edge of the parking lot? In the photo, there are trees behind it. If the work is placed “out of the way,” and the area leading to it isn’t spruced up, how many people are actually going to make the trek over to take a look?

    Please do not misunderstand me – I think having various pieces of art installed in and around Metrolink stations is a very GOOD thing. I just think more could be done with the stations themselves to make them more inviting.

    Finally – did the money for this project come from a grant? Was the installation paid for by Metro, or did Metro just “donate” space at the Rock Road Station?

    1. Courtney says:

      The piece is installed right against the middle of the Westbound platform, sorry for not making that clear. If you are riding the train or transferring to the bus, it is very difficult to miss, very colorful.

      The piece was paid for by a combination of federal FTA grants as well as grants from Regional Arts Commission, Missouri Arts Commission, and local match of $7000 from Metro’s capital budget (not operating). It’s definitely on our property, and sponsored through our Arts in Transit program. The installation is part of the overall project.

  3. RTBones says:

    Thanks for the info, Courtney. The next time I am through there, I’ll have to give it a look.

  4. Patrick Richmond says:

    Art around a MetroLink stop makes it look really pretty. Jimmy Z is right. If you have a work of art that requires LED lights, you have to have money for maintenance on it, such as the proper bulbs painted the porper colors. I sometimes use the Skinker Station to go to Kayak’s for coffee and I see these pretty LED lights change colors and I hear such distant music and it sounds like if the music has been recorded on an organ. But it sounds pretty though. The reason why I ask about age limits even on art, because talent comes from God, and age is just nothing but a number. We need to spread the word on the Arts in Transit program to our area nursing homes and senior centers so that our old folks can participate in this too. Most nursing homes has vans that can take them to the site to where the art is to be constructed.

    1. Courtney says:

      That is a GREAT idea Patrick! I know several senior transit riders who I think would be very excited about this idea. Thank you!

  5. Patrick Richmond says:

    Infact, I just emailed Bethesda and had them pass the word to the residents.

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