Art at Amtrak
Art at Amtrak, the official public art program of Amtrak, presents diverse, unique and memorable art projects to enhance, invigorate and humanize the travel experience at Amtrak stations. The art program reflects and celebrates each region's creative preeminence by featuring contemporary artists through rotating exhibitions.
The program launched at New York Penn Station in June 2022, has expanded to Moynihan Train Hall in Summer 2023, to Washington Union Station and William H. Gray III 30th Street Station in Fall 2023.
Art at Amtrak is curated and produced by Debra Simon Art Consulting.
Spring 2024 Artwork
New York Penn Station
Untitled (Collective Light Transfer), 2024
Digital print on vinyl adhesive film
NY Penn Station Rotunda & Concourse
The diverse artistic practice of NY-based artist Rico Gatson visually articulates, in an abstract way, the layering of ideas and inspirations he has considered throughout his career. These include spirituality, African, Native and Indigenous artistic practice, music as a transcendental force, illumination as a concept, abstract mathematics and the role of art in counterculture movements and political identity.
For Untitled (Collective Light Transfer), Gatson designed geometric compositions that continue to reference these themes. His carefully selected color palette and contrast ratio illuminate the station with pulsating energy, while the pattern-rich imagery evokes a sense of resonating rhythm and vibration. The radiating lines and the concentric circles echo the collective movement of bodies circulating throughout Penn Station.
In totality, the designs in Untitled (Collective Light Transfer) coalesce together to uplift, reflect and guide travelers as they move between the rotunda, the concourse, their train and on to their next destination.
About the Artist
Rico Gatson is a multimedia visual artist whose work explores themes of history, identity, pop culture and spirituality through sculpture, painting, video and public art projects. For almost three decades, he has been celebrated for politically layered artworks, often based on significant moments in Black history such as the Watts Riots, the formation of the Black Panthers, the election of President Barack Obama and other related subjects. In 2019, Gatson completed a major commission for MTA Arts & Design titled “Beacons,” which is installed at the 167th Street subway station on the Grand Concourse. The commission consists of eight large-scale mosaic portraits of significant figures connected to the Bronx. His artwork has been exhibited nationally and internationally at numerous institutions including The Studio Museum in Harlem, NY; The Contemporary Art Museum at The University of South Florida, FL; The Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; The Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; and The Essl Museum, Austria. Gatson is a faculty member at the School of Visual Arts, NY and NYU and he lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
Follow the artist on Instagram @rico_gatson and visit this website milesmcenery.com/artists/rico-gatson.
Fall 2023 Artwork
Block 675 Fence
MARISA MORÁN JAHN
Digital print on mesh fabric
Block 675 Fence, 30th Street, NYC
Located along Manhattan’s West Side Highway, adjacent to the Hudson River, and on former marshland, Re/Connections by artist Marisa Morán Jahn is a series of large-scale digital prints on mesh fabric that reflect on our interdependent relationship with water.
Re/Connections draws influence from Meso-American and Chinese papercut art forms where the punctures are said to let the past through. For Jahn, who is of Chinese and Ecuadorian descent, the holes within the work and the mesh surface serve as portals or passages connecting both times and places. In Re/Connections, the artist meditates on the site’s former history as a key trading route and source of sustenance for animals and humans. By placing the artwork around the staging area where Amtrak and the Gateway Development Commission will build a new rail tunnel linking New York and New Jersey, Re/Connections invites meditation on the transformative role of transportation and trade routes that still exist today. “Our stewardship of public resources like water, railways and civic space are critical to how communities thrive and strengthen resilience,” says Jahn.
About the Artist
Marisa Morán Jahn’s works redistribute power, “exemplifying the possibilities of art as social practice” (ArtForum). Jahn, who explores “civic spaces and the radical art of play” (Chicago Tribune), codesigns small to urban-scale projects with immigrant families, domestic workers and public housing residents. Jahn’s work has engaged millions via the United Nations, Tribeca Film Festival, Obama’s White House, Venice Biennale of Architecture and through media coverage in the BBC, CNN, PBS Newshour, The New York Times, Univision Global and more. She is a Sundance and Creative Capital grantee, a Senior Researcher at MIT (her alma mater), an artist in residence at The National Public Housing Museum and the Director of Integrated Design at Parsons/The New School. With Rafi Segal, Jahn co-authored a book, Design & Solidarity (Columbia University Press, 2023), and co-founded Carehaus, the U.S.’s first care-based co-housing project. She is represented by Sapar Contemporary.
Marisa Morán Jahn / Studio REV-
Micah Campbell Smith, Community Developer
Ananya Mishra, Studio Assistant
William H Gray III 30th Street Station
EUPHONIC & CHROMATIC DRIFT, 2023
Digital print on clear vinyl adhesive film
William H. Gray III 30th Street Station, Main Concourse
Adam Crawford’s practice is grounded in his desire to create visually engaging and stylistically unique artwork that appeals to a diverse audience. When developing the Art at Amtrak commission, Crawford focused on the strong lines of the existing architecture, the verticality and height of the space and the spatial symmetry of the main concourse. He also considered the relationship between motion and sound and how both are amplified in a major transit hub, ultimately impacting its overall energy.
The resulting work, Euphonic and Chromatic Drift, is a clear vinyl mural on the window facades at the East and West ends of the station that employs pattern, rounded edges, and color as a response to the linear composition of the architecture. Crawford used the existing gridwork design as the base and sketched forms and pathways that extend from and within the lines of each window frame and column. His resonating shapes and saturated color communicate movement and energy through and around the frames, echoing the collective flow of those who pass through the station on any given day.
About the Artist
Adam Crawford has lived and worked in Philadelphia for 29 years. He has degrees from both the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the University of Pennsylvania. Crawford is particularly drawn to both interior and exterior large-scale commissions and has several public-facing murals scattered throughout Philadelphia.
Washington Union Station
A Great Public Walk, 2023
Digital print on vinyl adhesive film
Washington Union Station, Passenger Waiting Area and North Hangar
The artwork commissioned for Union Station by the Art at Amtrak program, A Great Public Walk, considers the local, national and international spectrum of those who pass through the station, as well as the historical significance of Washington DC.
DC based artist Tim Doud took into consideration French engineer Pierre Charles L’Enfant's plan for our nation’s capital. The centerpiece of L’Enfant’s plan was a great “public walk” in the form of wide avenues, public squares and inspiring buildings. Doud took that template and then inserted cropped images of clothing patterns, logos and textiles that were worn by people he observed moving through Union Station and throughout the city.
The resulting mural is a tapestry created through the lens of style preferences that directly reflects the identities, demographics and personalities of those who frequent the station, all arranged within L'Enfant's plan for Washington DC.
About the Artist
Born in 1961, Tim Doud graduated from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago with an MFA in Painting and Drawing. He is the Co-Founder of STABLE in Washington DC, the 'sindikit project in Baltimore and Co-editor of Out of Place: Artists, Pedagogy and Purpose. The craft of making interests him, as well as the final legibility and look of the made object. Tim Doud’s paintings and drawings address two seemingly distinct bodies of work, one figurative and one abstract. These bodies of works serve as a backdrop to broader discussions around constructed identities, branding and commodity culture. Historically, he is a portraitist and is interested in how portraiture functions as practice and cultural signifiers. When he begins a new series of works — figurative, or abstract — he establishes perimeters — rules and obstacles governing the craft and development of the work.
About the Curator
An award-winning public arts curator and producer, Debra Simon has more than 30 years of experience in visual and performing arts programming for civic organizations, the real estate industry and other companies. While working at the Downtown Alliance, she created the Music at Castle Clinton concert series, Dine Around Downtown and co-founded the River-to-River Festival in 2002. As the Director of Times Square Arts, Simon oversaw Midnight Moment, the world’s largest digital art exhibition on electronic billboards and the annual Valentine Heart design competition, among other projects for the over 300,000 daily visitors to Times Square. As Artistic Director at Brookfield Properties, she led a national arts program that planned and executed multi-disciplinary programming, presenting over 500 free events annually in New York, Denver, Los Angeles and Houston. Collaborations with artists, architects, landscape designers, local arts organizations and presenting partners have contributed to her expertise in creating and reimagining public spaces. Current clients include Amtrak, Taconic Partners, Hudson Yard Hell’s Kitchen Alliance, Fifth Avenue Association and Third Street Music School Settlement. For more information, visit Debra Simon Art Consulting. Simon is collaborating with producer Common Ground Arts to realize Art at Amtrak. Visit dsimonartconsulting.com for more information.
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