Public Art in Transit: Over the Years
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has been a long time advocate of implementing artwork into station design to create a friendly and welcoming atmosphere for the commuting public. The MBTA is home to the nation’s first art in transit collection and formalized art public program which began in 1967. The subway, bus rapid transit, and commuter rail provide the public with a gallery of wonderful artwork to be enjoyed on one’s daily journey with a collection that has grown to over ninety pieces on six transit lines.
MBTA Art Programs
The MBTA is committed to ensuring diverse opportunities to engage people and communities in programs that create quality art system-wide, and strengthen the place of transit in the community. The goal is to improve and beautify neighborhoods through the installation of artwork to offer the public new ways to enjoy and experience the ‘T’ through three different art programs/policies:
Temporary Art and Temporary Community Youth Mural Program/Policy
Integral Art Program/Policy Guidelines
Community Partnership Art Program/Policy Guidelines & Application Form
Transportation excellence includes every element in the system, and should enhance the experience of travel by acknowledging the humanity of our customers. As multiple modes of transportation become more integral to our thinking about how we make spaces for people to travel, art and design must be part of the effort.
Until the early 20th century, most buildings and structures were designed and fabricated by artisans. As such, most elements offered users rich surface textures, and interesting designs for elements such as fences and railings. Contemporary fabrication and construction practices most often strip visual interest from essential elements. Integrating art into public projects can revive some of this visual interest.
The budget for integral art is for enhancement of essential station elements such as fences, wall tiles, glazing, etc., and includes only the cost differential between the underlying element and the artist-enhancement. It is to be budgeted at one half of one percent (0.5%) of station cost per MBTA policy.
MBTA Integral Art Projects/Call for Artists