Life evolving behind the lens

Unexpected Art: Light Rail Edition 4

We’ve now arrived in what I refer to as the working south. This stretch of MN State Route 55 (Hiawatha Avenue) is mostly residential with some light industrial operations. It’s an area I mostly see from the train during my commute to Bloomington. I had been to the stops at some point, but I never was at any of them long enough to truly see what they offered from an aesthetic standpoint. So I decided to disembark and take a look around. I was surprised.

The 38th Street Station is the quirkiest in terms of not only the artwork but where the artwork is situated. I’ve seen the metalwork on the panels of some of the shelter walls, a nod to the idyllic residential lifestyle much of the modest midwest populace seeks.

shelter metalwork
more metalwork

The real surprise, though, comes when you look up. I admit I hadn’t really paid attention to this station much prior to this particular photography endeavor. So these sculptures really surprised me.

elevated sculpture work
two forms of getting to and from work
the 1950s in a nutshell
homes and roadways
metal house
the 38th Street Station

Next up is the 46th Street Station, another surprising treasure trove of artwork. This wasn’t as big of a surprise, because the shelter panels reveal some of the station’s colorful nature right away.

colorful shelter panels
always good with amplification
all colors welcomed
red, clear and blue

There are a couple unexpected details at this station, though. You’ll find the first one when you look up.

station decor in unexpected places
such elaborate designs in nature

The second one, unfortunately, is now gone. I was fortunate enough to get a couple shots of this unique shelter pane. Wish I could say the same about the next stop.

shelter walls with unexpected details
too delicate for the urban jungle?

A few blocks south is the Minnehaha Park station. This stop integrates a lot of the key elements of this natural gem that’s not too far from a national wildlife refuge. Indeed, the artwork educates you on some of the animals you might find in and around the park of the Mississippi River that flows right alongside the park’s eastern perimeter.

Minnesota reptiles
Minnesota amphibians
But how do pumpkins come into play?

From here, though, the shoot broke my heart. Why? Well, the aesthetic charm to this station decreased tenfold due to a change in the shelter walls. When the station was first erected, there were several panes of glass with tree designs on them. The thing about these panels, though, was that the tree trunks were designed entirely of letters/words and came in a variety of tints. These panels were around for years, I even spotted them on my way home from work the day before I returned with my camera (which was a Saturday). When I arrived at the station, all of those panels were gone, replaced by panels with the MetroTransit motif (which really does not fit the rest of the station’s aesthetic). I was livid. I kicked at the new panels in my anger and found out that either A) those panels are really sturdy or B) I don’t have as much leg strength as I thought. Either way, I was not happy about missing my chance to photograph the panels. When you see the rest of the station, you’ll understand why.

metal meets Mother Nature
a slice of the rustic urbia
the picket fences hide the true dangers
plant life for your commute

The next leg will take us through the military and air service stations along the light rail line. These stations are more subtle but still manage to hold unexpected gems. In the meantime, I hope you’re enjoying the ride. 🙂


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