Much is said about Los Angeles, but no one can deny that one of its highlights is the vibrant art scene. There are art walks in downtown Los Angeles and Venice every month and numerous art museums to explore. One of the highlights of taking the Metro, Los Angeles’ own public transportation system, is the work of their own Art Department. Free tours are available on the first Thursday, Saturday and Sunday of every month. All tours are round-trip and last around two hours.
The Thursday tour meets at 7pm at the street level entrance to the Hollywood/Highland Metro Rail Station on Hollywood Boulevard near the intersection with Highland Ave. If you’re driving to the station, parking is available at the Visitor’s Center at the Hollywood/Highland shopping center for partial parking validation. The Saturday tour meets at 10am at the same location. However, the Sunday tour meets at 10am at the information booth in the historic Union Station at 900 Alameda St. in Downtown Los Angeles. Parking choices at Union Station include paid parking, lots and metered street parking.
Each tour is led by a member of the Metro Art Docent Council which consists of volunteers committed to increasing awareness of the Metro art. These tours include a lot of walking, so wear comfortable shoes and clothing! Art Department docents will distribute date-stamped badges that allow you to ride the Metro Rail station for free that day. You can easily identify a docent by looking for a person in a bright orange vest or with a voice amplifier. Children at and above a 5th grade level are encouraged to join the Metro Art Tours.
Metro Art Department was created in 1989 based on the idea that “art creates a sense of space and engages transit riders.” In just over 20 years, the Art Department has commissioned more than 300 artists to incorporate art in transportation projects all over Los Angeles County. Each artist is selected through a peer review process that includes the community and each piece was designed with a transit location in mind. Metro has received many design and artistic excellence awards for organizing “one of the most innovative public art programs in the country.” An Art Guide can be downloaded here with pictures and artist information of every piece at each station.
If you are interested in having your art included in a future project, join the Metro Art Department mailing list. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to explore the art of Los Angeles for free! No reservations required to take advantage of the tour. Hope to see you there!