The MBTA is committed to integrating art into the final design of the new stations being built for the Green the Line Extension project (GLX), and local artists clearly are eager to lend their talents.
About 60 artists attended a prequalification/information session on February 6 for the Green Line Extension Public Art Commission, which is seeking artists to join the GLX project team to incorporate and design artwork into the first three stations to be completed – the relocated Lechmere Station in Cambridge, and the Union Square and Washington Street stations on Somerville.
“Integral” is the key word in this new MBTA art program and policy. Art will not be peripheral or an add-on but rather part of the design and construction of station elements. The selected artists will conceive artistic treatments for tile wall surfaces, ceilings, porcelain enamel panels, railings, lighting, fences, screen walls, retaining walls, and other features. Fabrication and installation of the artwork will then be performed by the general contractor as part of station construction.
“The goal is to create a warm and welcoming environment in key areas experienced by the riding public to both unify and differentiate station platforms, and to enhance the connection between the station and the community,” explained Marggie Lackner, MBTA Director of Design.
The Green Line Extension is a perfect venue to introduce this art program, said Deborah Fennick, a project team consultant from Fennick McCredie Architecture. “Each station and each neighborhood could not be more different from each other, and the integral art program is an opportunity to give each station its own personality within the unique identity being created for the whole extension.”
Project team members identified a wide assortment of station features that are candidates for artwork, from large hall niches with benches at Union Square Station, to the center island of the bus loop at Lechmere. At Washington Street Station, art treatment could make the underbridge experience more welcoming approaching the lower entrance lobby.
It is anticipated that up to three artists will be selected, either one artist per station, or one artist for each set of elements for all three stations. A committee that includes arts professionals from the GLX communities will review the applications according to program criteria. Following this review, the submissions of up to 10 finalists will be presented for public review and comment, after which a final selection will be made. The selected artists would receive stipends.
The application deadline for the GLX Public Art Commission is Thursday, February 20, at noon. The application form and other information is available on the project website, as is the presentation that was given at the prequalification session.
It is anticipated that a second artist selection will take place later for the remaining four stations planned along the Green Line Extension.