Life evolving behind the lens

Unexpected Art: Light Rail Edition 1

To spice things up a little, I’ve started a series of photos that capture the artwork found throughout Minneapolis. All of these paintings, sculptures and other projects stray from the museum to permeate everyday life. It’s really fascinating to see where and how art crops up around the city. I’ll be starting this series with a look at the Hiawatha Light Rail line, and this installment features the stations in the northwestern part of downtown Minneapolis.

I actually want to start off with the southern terminus of the Northstar Commuter Line. In terms of aesthetics, it’s a pretty simple area. Here’s a view of the platform.

commuter line dropoff

As you can see, it’s pretty basic with expanded heated shelters and is much cleaner due to the clientèle it serves. However, if you step into the station, there is an intriguing little surprise that you have to look up to find.

look up here
sculpture origins

The sculpture actually takes up about three quarters of the ceiling space for the upper level of the Northstar station in Minneapolis. I was surprised to find any sort of artwork for this station, and I think I’ll return to get some more photos.

From there, it’s a quick walk to the Target Field Light Rail Station.

There’s actually not much going on in the way of art on the platform itself, which is simultaneously annoying and logical. On the one hand, I think subtle baseball decor could have been implemented. On the other hand, the station pulls up right next to Target Field, which has its share of artwork around its edges (and may be the subject of a future Unexpected Art series). There’s also the overall Target aesthetic to consider. If you’ve ever walked into a Target store, you know that it’s all about crisp lines, narrow fonts and color simplicity. The stadium furthers that concept, as seen below.

not allowed in just yet

Because of it’s location, the light rail platform took a lot of cues from the landmark it sits near, as evidenced by the streamlined design of the shelters, materials used and even the fonts touting the platform’s purpose.

Check out the sculpted typeface!
gimme shelter

From there, it’s time to move onto the Warehouse District/Hennepin Avenue Station, the former northern terminus of the light rail line. When I set out to photograph the artistic flair of the light rail platforms, I found some that excelled in terms of character. In my opinion, this station has the most character. That title was once held by the Minnehaha Park station, but I’ll explain why it lost that distinction in the fourth entry of this particular series. Anyway, the station area is strangely diverse, with a couple strip joints, several restaurants and a furniture store all within a stone’s throw of the platform.

quirky but oddly charming

It’s a far cry from the area’s past, which is commemorated in a series of photographs positioned within the brick walls and columns of the station.

dedicated to those behind the scenes
old photographs in the new
brick and film for fabric

Or is it a far cry? Rosenthal’s is still open, and you can see the past as the present in this photo.

some things that stay the same

The placard for the woven mosaic shown above states that the weave pattern was chosen to show how the past is always part of the present events. I am of the opinion that with the column I photographed that message has already been received.

Next stop: The heart of downtown and heading east to some of the most diverse neighborhoods in Minneapolis!


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