CalArts alumnae selected for Metro’s Regional Connector Project installations

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Signal file photo California Institute of the Arts.

Two California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) alumnae will soon create site-specific art installations for Metro’s Regional Connector Project in Los Angeles, which will extend Metro Rail’s Little Tokyo/Arts District station to its 7th St/Metro Center station in downtown Los Angeles.

Audrey Chan and Andrea Bowers were two of seven artists chosen from a pool of nearly 300 prequalified artists to create art for the Metro expansion.  Both graduated from CalArts with a masters of fine arts degree in art: Chan in 2007 and Bowers in 1992.

Chan and Bowers were selected by a panel of five professional artists with ties to the downtown community who evaluated each artist’s professional qualifications, past work and site-specific proposals.

“There was a proposal process from a prequalified pool of artists and a project-specific artist selection panel based on those artist proposals,” said Letitia Fernandez Ivins, creative services manager with Los Angeles Metro.  “It just happened that two of the seven are CalArts alums.”

In choosing the proposals, artists had to display their understanding of both the context of transportation and Metro’s users.  According to Ivins, demonstrated site-specificity and artistic merit were key.

“The way the artists determine art specificity was up to them,” Ivins said.

The $1.55 billion Metro project, with an expected 2021 opening, will allow passengers to access the Gold, Blue, Expo, Red and Purple lines and will allow commuters to easily travel from Azusa to Santa Monica and from East Los Angeles to Long Beach.

Art will be placed at each of the new stations will be new commissions by the chosen artists.

“We have a percent for art policy so that every new station has artwork integrated into the design and construction,” Ivins said.

Chan’s art installation will sit at the new 1st St/Central Ave station in Little Tokyo.  It will be a 2-D piece made out of porcelain enamel steel at the platform level on train walls, according to Ivins.

Bowers’ installation will be at the entrance level of the new station at 2nd St/Broadway and will be composed of glass, Ivins said.

Throughout her career, Chan has held exhibitions throughout the United States and Europe to showcase her research-based projects on political and cultural identities.

In spring 2017, Chan will act as a visiting faculty member at CalArts to teach a workshop on ethics and advocacy in political art-making and a seminar on funerary art, death and mourning, according to CalArts.

During her career, Bowers has used drawing, installation, photos and video to address contemporary political and social issues.  She has held exhibitions around the world that tackle topics like feminist concerns, immigration, environmental activation and sexual and gender discrimination.

Chan and Bowers’ installation projects, in addition to the installations of the five other selected artists, will be slowly revealed to the public in the next few months, according to Ivins.

Editor’s note: updated to include additional information from Metro and corrected information regarding number of artist applicants.

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