The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is a living, interactive gallery of unique works of art and architectural design elements that reflect the cultural influences of the men and women who have lived and worked in the communities we've served for more than a century.
Since 2011, under the leadership of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, our collection of public art has undergone its largest expansion ever – doubling in size and featuring more than 80 works of art and significant architectural details across the system, including mosaics, sculptures and paintings by both up-and-coming and marquee talent.
Public transit is more than just a means to and from work or school, it’s also an opportunity to learn and inspire with each trip taken.The investments we’ve made in public art and architecture are a reflection of how much we value our riders and the communities we serve by providing riders with a friendlier, more inviting atmosphere, while also providing a glimpse into the rich history and unique characteristics of the surrounding neighborhoods.
For the first time ever, our collection of public art and architecture are celebrated and chronicled in detail in the new Elevated: Art and Architecture of the Chicago Transit Authority -- a 448-page hardcover book that serves as a guide to the more than 70 works of art and 24 significant architectural elements featured across our rail and bus system. The book features stunning visuals captured through the lens of Chicago photographer Aron Gent, as well as essays by world-renown, Chicago-based artist and architect Iker Gil, as well as Chicago’s official Cultural Historian, Tim Samuelson.
Proceeds from the book, which is available for purchase via CTAgifts.com, will support our public art program.
Complementing the launch of this book, we've also partnered with the Chicago Architecture Center (CAC) to create two new, ‘L’ tours that showcase select station art and architectural details featured in the new book. These new tours, one covering Chicago’s South Side and the other the North Side, will be offered from the CAC in early 2019. The new tours will join the popular, current CAC ‘L’ tour Elevated Architecture: Downtown ‘L’ Train. Additional details regarding the CAC tours will be made available in the coming weeks.
On this page:
Future art installations
We are planning to add more works of art to our growing collection at the following locations over the next few years, including:
cIndicates an art installation project already underway with a commissioned artist/artist team.
Many of the pieces featured in our public art collection are a result of the Arts in Transit Program – funded by the Federal Transit Administration and coordinated locally through CTA, the City of Chicago Public Art Program, and the Chicago Department of Transportation. A number of other pieces were created through our former Adopt-A-Station program and through partnerships with local artists and organizations, including Gallery 37, Chicago Public Art Group and Marwen.
Art projects underway
Theaster Gates, Artist
Upon completion of a $280 million reconstruction project, the 95th Street Terminal will be the showcase station of the entire CTA system—and a premier multimodal transportation terminal in the region. The crowning jewel to this momentous project will be the largest public art project in the agency’s history – a $1.3 million endeavor by internationally acclaimed Chicago artist Theaster Gates. More than just artwork, Gates’ project fosters community engagement, job creation and provides a student apprentice program. The artwork imagined for this station is an integrated feature in the terminal building and a stand-alone work of art.
an extended song of our people (AESOP)
Artist Theaster Gates' conceptual rendering of "an extended song of our people (AESOP)" -- the new art installation for the north terminal building at the 95th Street Red Line station.
Planned for location in the North Terminal, this space will become a DJ booth that provides commuters with real-time audio programming and live music hosted by a regular weekday DJ, featuring DJs in-residence, musicians, poets, and community members.
This project was conceived in response to five community engagement meetings with South Side residents. Neighbors responded with a strong interest in developing a living space that would allow for the celebration of past achievements, to showcase current talent, and for the space to be a symbol of hope.
This space is designed to be:
- A public broadcast studio that area residents can take over at key moments to present public projects, live music performances, interviews, conversations, and debate—a kind of town hall within the CTA;
- A partnership with other charitable organizations specializing in recording the stories of black and brown people to ensure that historical and present voices are heard;
- And a platform to celebrate local talent, both in the construction and design of the sound studio, in the ongoing implementation of the space by local DJs, and in the development and training of new DJs through workshops on music, sound, and audio production.
Artist Theaster Gates' conceptual rendering of "america, america" – the new public art planned for the south terminal building at the 95th Street Red Line station.
Two large tapestries, to be located in the South Terminal, are made from colorful strips of decommissioned fire hoses and galvanized steel. The tapestries, signature works within Gates’ artistic practice, are reflections on the importance of the civil rights movement and the struggle and acknowledgement that the work of equity and equality is an ongoing effort not carried by one people, but by all.
Western (O’Hare Branch)
Edra Soto and Dan Sullivan, Artists
New public artwork created by Chicago artists Edra Soto and Dan Sullivan will enhance the Western station, which received minor upgrades as part of the $492 million Your New Blue modernization project. Selected from more than 100 applicants, the new artwork by Soto and Sullivan is expected to be a large-scale sculptural embellishment for the stationhouse exterior.
Locations of Selected Art
* Indicates locations featuring new art installations since 2010.
Illinois Medical District*
Conservatory-Central Park Drive
Union Station Transit Center*
Download our 2016 public art booklet:
2016 cta public art booklet (.pdf)
- Mayor Emanuel, CTA Continue Investments to Improve Transit Experience (press release, 10/29/2018)
- CTA Unveils Interactive Artwork at Damen Blue Line (press release, 04/06/2018)
- CTA Montrose Blue Line Station to Get New, Unique Public Artwork by Chicago Artist as Part of Mayor Emanuel’s Your New Blue Program (press release, 11/07/2017)
- Mayor Emanuel and CTA Open New Wilson Stationhouse (press release, 10/23/2017)
- Mayor Emanuel Opens New CTA Train Station at Washington and Wabash (press release, 08/31/2017)
- Mayor Emanuel and CTA Unveil Art Concepts for 95th Street Terminal (press release, 07/13/2017)
- CTA Holds Community Meeting on Your New Blue Irving Park and Addison Station Art Projects (press release, 06/08/2017)
- CTA Seeks Community Input on New Artwork for Jefferson Park Blue Line Station (press release, 05/26/2017)
- CTA Seeks Community Input on New Artwork for Kedzie Green Line Station (press release, 05/02/2017)
- CTA to Host “Meet the Artist” Community Meetings for Two New Public Art Projects (press release, 03/13/2017)
- CTA Seeks Artist for Montrose Blue Line Station (press release, 01/23/2017)
- Irving Park, Addison on the Blue Line Are Latest CTA Stations to Get New Public Artwork (press release, 12/14/2016)
- CTA to Host Community Meeting on Dec. 8 for New Artwork for Austin Bus Turnaround on West Side (press release, 12/05/2016)
- Four CTA Rail Stations to Receive New Artwork by Award-Winning Artists (press release, 10/14/2016)
- CTA Hires World-Renowned Artist to Create Artwork for Austin Bus Turnaround (press release, 09/14/2016)
- CTA Hires Award-Winning Chicago Artists for Two Downtown Public Art Projects (press release, 06/03/2016)
- Mayor Emanuel Plans to Expand Art at CTA Rail Stations, Bus Terminal (press release, 02/23/2016)
- CTA to Host Community Meeting on Unique Artwork for New Wilson Red-Purple Line Station (press release, 05/05/2015)
- CTA to Host Community Meeting Seeking Public Input on the Your New Blue Damen Station Art Project (press release, 09/26/2014)
- CTA Hires Internationally Acclaimed Artist to Create Artwork for New Wilson Station (press release, 07/16/2014)
- Mayor Emanuel and CTA Unveil New Artwork for Eight Red Line South Stations (press release, 06/23/2014)
- CTA Selects Your New Blue Contractor and Artists for Damen, Western and California station renovations (press release, 02/05/2014)
- CTA Selects Artists for New Original Artwork at Red Line South Stations (press release, 01/07/2014)
- CTA Seeks Artists for Blue Line Station Artwork as Part of the Your New Blue Project (press release, 12/13/2013)
- CTA and Artist Theaster Gates to Host Five Community Meetings for the Historic 95th Street Terminal Art Project (press release, 10/8/2013)
- CTA seeks internationally renowned artist for 95th Street Terminal project (press release, 07/12/2013)
- CTA Announces Artwork Plans for Red Line South Stations (press release, 06/18/2013)
- CTA to Host Community Meeting for Input on Red North Station Art (press release, 10/19/2012)
- CTA Seeks Artists for North Red Line Stations (press release, 09/13/2012)