New public art unveiled at Blue Line O’Hare branch’s Addison and Western stations

A view of "Constant Flow into multitudes of specific Form" by Francesco Simeti.
Photo: CTA
A view of "Constant Flow into multitudes of specific Form" by Francesco Simeti. Photo: CTA

Yesterday the CTA announced the addition of two new public artworks along the O’Hare branch of Blue Line that will help beautify the stops and add seating. The Addison and Western stations received the art as a finishing touch to station improvement work performed as part of the $492 million Your New Blue program to modernize the branch.

The CTA issued a request for proposals for artwork for the Western stop in 2014 and for the Addison project two years later. The CTA says the artists were chosen based on their artistic merit, qualifications, professional recognition, and their written statements of interest. Federal Formula Funds provided by the Federal Transit Administration bankrolled the two station art projects valued at a total of $270,000. 

“We are always proud to expand our public art collection with the addition of stunning new artworks,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. in a statement. “These exciting and engaging pieces are not only to beautify the facilities, they are also there to inspire and bring a burst of refreshing energy for our riders and the surrounding communities.”

At Addison, the work “Constant Flow into multitudes of specific Form” by Francesco Simeti of Palermo, Italy, replaced 40 clear window panels throughout the Addison station with colorful painted glass. Simeti said he was inspired by indigenous trees, plants and wildflowers of the Chicago region, and the piece also quotes ornamentation by legendary Chicago architect Louis Sullivan, who designed some nearby buildings. The title of this artwork is a phrase from “A System of Architectural Ornament,” the collection of Sullivan’s drawings and ideas, published as his final statement about the geometry underlying both natural and man-made forms.

"Remnants | Restos" by Edra Soto and Dan Sullivan. Photo: CTA
“Remnants | Restos” by Edra Soto and Dan Sullivan. Photo: CTA

At Western the installation “Remnants | Restos” was created by Chicago-based artist wife-and-husband team Edra Soto and Dan Sullivan, no relation to Louis. The work is intended to be a “functional sculpture“ that doubles as street furniture. The seating units were fabricated of cast concrete with blue Terrazzo embellishments and are attached to the plaza. The piece is now a permanent feature of the outdoor plaza at the Western station entrance. In collaboration with the artists, the CTA also added in-ground lighting in the plaza and relocated a bike parking rack to improve pedestrian traffic flow at the plaza.

According to Soto and Sullivan, the sculptures present recognizable architectural forms and shapes that celebrate the culture and heritage of the adjacent communities which include Bucktown, Wicker Park, and Humboldt Park.

These pieces add to the CTA’s collection of more than 70 permanent artworks all eight rail lines and multiple bus facilities. According to the agency, the public art runs the spectrum from mosaics, art glass, sculptures, and interactive installations created by nationally and internationally acclaimed artists, many of whom are local.

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