BART art brings color to commute

Monday November 18, 2002


OAKLAND – Bay Area Rapid Transit has undergone a public art renaissance, commissioning several pieces for its stations and greenways. 

There are steel cows in Berkeley, colorful tile mosaics at 16th Street in San Francisco, and a giant shimmering sculpture at San Francisco International Airport, among others. 

The Art in BART projects are at MacArthur, West Oakland and 12th Street in Oakland; the Ohlone Greenway beneath the elevated tracks in Berkeley; and three projects at Embarcadero and 16th Street in San Francisco. A traveling exhibition commemorating the Americans with Disabilities Act will eventually become a permanent installation at the Ashby station. 

There are also four artworks at SFO. They include artist Ned Kahn’s 6-foot-tall circular stainless steel piece made of 1-inch square disks attached to pins. The disks rotate when hit by a breeze, and so the whole sculpture shimmers every time trains enter and leave the station. 

The pieces in the SFO extension stations were funded with $1. 5 million from the federal government and other sources. 

BART’s initial interest in the art world came in the late 1960s and early ’70s, when the stations opened. BART organized a panel of art professionals to commission pieces for almost all the original stations. 

The program was revived in the late ’90s thanks to the economic boom of the region. The board put $250,000 into the project over two years and teamed up with other local agencies.