Decorating the walls of the new Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (Metro) Expo/Crenshaw Station is 400 feet worth of over 11,000 photographs arranged in a collage-like art piece. The display, located along the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)/Crenshaw Line, consists of 70 steel panels.
Out of over 1,000 applicants, 14 artists were chosen to have their artwork displayed at eight stations along the new line. One of those artists is Cal Poly Pomona’s very own adjunct lecturer in the art department, Jamie Scholnick.
The creation of “Layered Histories” began after the nationwide search for artists in 2015. After being chosen as a finalist, Scholnick worked tirelessly over the years for her piece. She even had to drop out of several jobs to pursue her dream. “Yes, it was work,” Scholnick said. “But, oh my God, was it fun.”
Scholnick partnered up with photographer Sally Coates to photograph the neighborhoods around the station. The piece also utilized photographs taken by the youth of the RightWay Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps emancipated foster youth.
Half of Scholnick’s original pieces will also be displayed behind the baggage claim at the Southwest Airlines Terminal One at LAX as part of an art show.
By fall of 2021, commuters on the Metro line will be able to see both the copied pieces at the Expo/Crenshaw station and the original panels when they get to LAX.
With the Metro station artwork, Scholnick wanted to showcase the diversity in the neighborhoods that Cesar E. Chavez Avenue winds through. “(Cesar E. Chavez Avenue) starts in East L.A. then goes through Chinatown and turns into Sunset and eventually leads you to the beach,” Scholnick said. “Classes and diversity really change from where it starts to where it ends, and I wanted to document that.”
Two hundred feet of “Layered Histories” will be displayed on the northbound side of the station with the other 200 feet to be displayed on the southbound side. One piece begins with photographs of midnight in the city and ends at dawn, while the other piece is displayed vice versa, beginning at dawn and ending at midnight. “My work is always about my place in time,” Scholnick said. “Hopefully it also makes people happy.”
The Expo/Crenshaw Station will be a transfer station, allowing commuters to take another line toward the beach, or take the train running toward the airport.
“I love the idea of local artists having their art at the (Metro) stations,” second-year computer information systems student William Vong said. “So many people will be on those lines and will see the true diversity of L.A. be represented.”
Scholnick is already working on another mural to be displayed at the L.A. County University of Southern California (also known as LAC+USC) Restorative Care Village in East L.A. near her studio. Six artists are competing to become one of the four artists chosen to have their artwork grace the walls of four buildings in the village. The village will assist in matters of homelessness, violence and abuse, mental illnesses and disabilities among other issues.
“Every city has its own subculture, and local artists and their work are a really good way to communicate that to other people,” said Shannon Trinh, a third-year computer science student.
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