Mural dedication planned for June 11
A mural, “From a Model to a Rainbow,” by Washington, DC-based artist Sam Gilliam has been installed at the Takoma Metrorail station.
The artwork, a monumental-size mosaic mural, was commissioned by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities in cooperation with the Metro Art in Transit Program. The mural of multi-colored ceramic and glass tiles mounted on aluminum panels spans 400 square feet. It measures 14 feet high and 39 feet wide, and weighs 2,000 pounds. The artwork can be found at the station on the southern abutment wall along Cedar Street.
The DC Commission, Metro and the Takoma Metro Mural Committee, a committee formed specifically for the project, selected Gilliam from among 132 artists who submitted applications for the commission.
“I wanted to make a work that is part of its environment, yet changes that environment,” said Gilliam. “A work filled with color and light.”
Since the early 1960s, Gilliam, with his signature draped canvases, has challenged the traditional painting techniques of the Washington Color School and Abstract Expressionism. During the ’70s Gilliam’s wrapped canvases pushed his aesthetic explorations even further. By the ’80s Gilliam began applying sculptural elements to his surfaces – making three-dimensional sculptural paintings. Currently he creates, along with his signature works, multimedia installations and translations using various techniques and media. “From a Model to a Rainbow” is a mosaic translation of one of Gilliam’s earlier paintings. Gilliam’s work is included in private and public collections around the world. He lives and maintains a studio in northwest Washington, DC.
“We are thrilled to be the benefactor of Gilliam’s brilliance,” said Michael McBride, Metro’s Art in Transit Manager. “The work is a wonderful testament to his extraordinary artistic talent and his ability to use art to transform space.”
Metro’s Art in Transit Program installs artwork throughout the Metrorail system to enhance the travel experience of Metro customers, and works with artists, community groups, government agencies and businesses to select and install artwork that captures the spirit and vitality of the region.
“By getting involved in this project, some of us in the Takoma community were hoping that commuters and visitors, while hurrying past with their busy lives, might pause for a moment and be inspired by a beautiful work of public art in their midst,” said Dan Turbitt, Chair of the Takoma Mural Committee.
“The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities is always pleased to work with a hometown treasure such as Sam Gilliam,” says Aryis Scales, Interim Executive Director of the Arts Commission. “His mosaic, ‘From a Model to a Rainbow’ provides a vibrant and inviting gateway to the diverse Takoma neighborhood. Public art is an important tool for economic revitalization and creates a strong community identity. ‘From a Model to a Rainbow’ is an outstanding demonstration of how public art can be used to beautify the District’s neighborhoods.”
DC Creates! installs artwork at public sites throughout the District to establish and maintain a dynamic, vibrant, nurturing community through art and design.
The artwork is being dedicated at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 11, at the Takoma Metrorail station. The dedication is open to the public.