The final two art installations at the Red Line’s 95th Street station were unveiled Monday morning. The two pieces by artist Theaster Gates are part of the massive terminal overhaulwhich wrapped up in January.
The final touches on the train and bus station are a pair of tapestries of decommissioned fire hoses and a radio station with a performance space. Gates is an internationally recognized artist who’s had commissions and exhibits across the world, but it’s clear he has a soft spot for Chicago.
“These things don’t happen in a vacuum,” Gates said at the announcement. “It takes a lot of people who believe in art and culture.”
As a Chicagoan, and former CTA employee and the first director of transit arts, the project was incredibly important to him. He credited his six years at the CTA with teaching him skills in bureaucracy that allowed him to accomplish more throughout his career.
“I remember when we were going through the process, it’s a big process, we probably did over 15 community meetings talking to people about what they’d like to see in their neighborhood. And we really listened,” Gates said at the announcement on Monday. “People would say: ‘We want to see clear examples of our people on the South Side. We want to see examples of our future, clear examples of our present. We want to hear our stories all the time.’ And I thought, that’s a lot to deliver in a mural.