Student art displayed at TRAX

By By John Boyack

By John Boyack

Pablo Picasso once said that, “Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

Rain fell on Tuesday as the afternoon wore on, and washed some of the dust left by Utah Transit Authority construction off of three new sculptures decorating the new U TRAX line, which starts on Sept. 29.

With help in the form of $27,000 donated by the Associated Students of the University of Utah, J. Bernie Johnson, Jimmy Nielsen and Cody Dingus, and Yoshikazu Kono won the privilege of preparing pieces of sculpture now displayed at the South Campus Drive, Fort Douglas and Medical Center stations.

An art education major, Johnson articulated the thrill of seeing his artwork on public display, saying, “It’s so exciting. I can’t help but admit how much I love seeing it as I pass by.” His artwork decorates the South Campus Drive station, where several five-piece sculptures, painted in green and red, will mingle with future TRAX passengers. He said that although the piece is untitled, community was the theme that inspired his imagination. He also pointed out that none of the pieces actually physically touch one another, but they have assembled together to offer something, one to the other.

Moving up to the Fort Douglas station, a two-piece sculpture designed by Dingus, a graduate student in architecture and Nielsen, a business graduate student, put together a glimpse of the past, reflecting a vision of the future. The sandstone and steel sculptures were designed with the location of Fort Douglas and its history in mind, and are represented in the sandstone used, along with “the cutting edge of technology” and the U represented in the steel sculpture, said Nielsen and Dingus.

The hope, according to the students, is to transform the TRAX stations into something “more” than simply a place to wait for the train.

“It’s really a neat thing,” Dingus said.

Wary of the fact that some of the professors at the U haven’t yet enjoyed the same opportunity, TRAX Art in Transit Coordinator Brandon Bott said he felt “accountable” to present a series of talent from the campus that would properly reflect not only the diversity the university offers the community, but also its talent. He also said he owed it to ASUU to only allow that the talent come from within the U. The total cost of having and installing the three pieces came to about $60,000, according to Bott, nearly half of which was given by ASUU.

Bott, who has a public relations degree from the U, studied some sculpture and said he was thrilled to be able to provide U students with the opportunity to display their artwork at the stations for years to come.

Kono presented the third and final display found at the Medical Center station, titled “Silhouette-Our Line.”

A graduate student of architecture, Kono prepared two 11-foot, 3,000-pound pieces for the Medical Center station, hoping to weave the idea of everyday use and everyday life with his design, he said.

The sculptures represent fragments of the human arm and the steel structure was painted a luminous white to contrast with the surrounding scenery. The sculptures will remain at the stations as long as the stations exist, and are now available for the public to view.

[email protected]