The Purple Line, slated to open in 2022, will be a light rail line that connects Montgomery and Prince George's Counties via a 16 mile track between Bethesda and New Carrollton. And while it's proving difficult to get shovels into the ground, there's at least one light-hearted side of the project to talk about right now: art in each of the stations.
Purple Line Transit Partners, the team working to build the new line, is running a program called Art-in-Transit to plan art installations at each of the Purple Line's 21 stations. A group of artists has been selected to submit proposals, and after the public weighs in on its favorites (and those it doesn't like), a panel will take feedback into consideration and give contracts to the winners.
Art in Transit is an opportunity for artists to incorporate aspects of the local communities into the functional design of each station, connecting it to the local area in a way that makes the station more pleasant for passengers. Parts of stations where art may go include walkways, fences, bridges, and tunnels.
On Monday, the Purple Line Transit partners unveiled the possibilities for Montgomery County; it will do the same for Prince George's stations on Thursday. You'll soon be able to see and comment on the art selections here, but for now, these are some of my favorite Montgomery County candidates:
Bethesda station, Ivan Depena
One concept for Bethesda station comes from Ivan Depena. He envisions a subterranean root system, made up of LED lights, that flows from the upper to the lower section of the station and changes color based on the arrival and departure of trains and traffic. The feature is built to be low maintenance, long-lasting, and even resistant to vandalism.
Here's what it will look like when built into the station.
Dale Drive station, Susan Zoccola
Another artist, Susan Zoccola, has a concept for the smaller Dale Drive station. Her design is inspired by the tree-filled park area around the Sligo Creek, with various species of trees represented in the station's glass panels.
Water-themed artwork, a reference to the creek, would go on this walkway to and from the station:
Silver Spring Transit Center station, Nobuho Nagasawa
Nagasawa takes inspiration from the oak trees all over our region region and the mica found in the springs, for which Spring Spring was named. There aren't as many trees as there once were and the spring has run dry, but Nagasawa wants to capture their memory by creating an oasis of oak trees and the spring with sparkling flecks of mica.
The the oak leaf and acorn pattern providing shade and aesthetic shadows:
Center station at day and night:
The Colesville Road bridge with a leaf pattern that provides a shade pattern during the day and seasonal color light in the evenings:
Manchester Place station, Peter Erskine
Erskine takes inspiration from one of nature's most colorful natural phenomenon, the rainbow, and will use light's prismatic beauty to represent the international community around Manchester Place and it's becoming “a major portal to the International Corridor.”
The light filtering through the station will change both throughout the day and from season to season, creating a dynamic rainbow of color:
Along the portal wall, an array of international flags will be inscribed with something unique from their respective cultures, also represented by the colors of the rainbow:
The unveiling for the Prince George's County stations will be at the College Park Community Center on Thursday, April 27, from 6:30-8:30 pm.