From a floor mosaic at the Clark Street station to a light installation at the Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue station, artwork surrounds us on the subway—we just have to remember to look.
A new map by the Pratt Institute chronicles all the transit station artwork created by alumni and faculty at the school, offering a fun DIY art tour and reminding New Yorkers to take a moment to appreciate the artwork on their daily commutes.
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Nearly 30 stops make up the Pratt Transit Art Tour inviting viewers to explore the diversity of creative expression from Pratt’s interdisciplinary community, from architects, artists and industrial designers. Some of the pieces date back to the 1960s, while others were installed this year.
“Public art is so uplifting,” said Jane South, chairperson of fine arts at Pratt Institute, adding that she often thinks of subway stops based on the artwork there, rather than the station’s actual name. “They become part of the language of our everyday transportation experience.”
Public art is so uplifting.
Many pieces on the Pratt Transit Art Tour are part of the MTA Arts & Design program, while others appear in Art at Amtrak initiative.
“There is a kind of mapping that is to do with connectedness, and I think it makes a big town feel a little bit like a smaller town,” South said.
Seeing art in the middle of a commute can offer a chance to explore art with your children, South said, sparking a conversation about how pieces are made, for example. Plus, she added, art can even create an opportunity to chat with a stranger.
For current students, the new map inspires.
“The city is an extension of our campus. We educate on campus but also in museums—and now also on the subway,” South said. “It’s a great example of an expanded classroom that is inclusive for all.”
Pratt’s communications team worked together over the span of two months to create the map with Marion Hammon, director of editorial communications leading the brainstorming and editorial direction. Jolene Travis, Pratt’s executive director of public relations and editorial communications, describes the Pratt Transit Art Tour as “a fun visual evergreen guide”—all on view for the price of a train ticket.
“The Pratt Transit Art Tour transforms New York City into this art hall,” Travis said. “It’s for New Yorkers and tourists alike. Anybody can come to New York City or be here already and discover something new and exciting.”
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.