The ambitious and inspirational art project that seeks to line the underside of the CTA L tracks on Wabash Avenue with multi-colored lights is going to get a test. Thanks to almost $60,000 donated by nearly a thousand people through a Kickstarter campaign, the CTA and CDOT will allow artists Jack Newell and Seth Unger to install light tubes on a small test section of the street.
The plan is to install the test between Monroe and Adams Street. It’ll run for a year in order to see how the lights hold up to all the heat, cold, noise, vibrations, snow, rain, sparks, dirt and pigeons Chicago can throw at it. During that time the artists will also embark on a much larger fundraising campaign, trying to raise three to five million dollars from individual and corporate donors to make the installation stretch the entire length of the Wabash L tracks.
The CTA, CDOT, and 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly are all on board.
“When I met with Jack and Seth from The Wabash Lights, I immediately recognized the value of this exciting public art pilot project on Wabash,” Alderman Reilly said. “The Wabash Lights Project is really a collision of cutting-edge LED technology and public art for the purpose of enhancing the aesthetic and cultural experience on Wabash. With all of the changes coming to the Loop Elevated tracks in this area, I believe Wabash Lights is a great opportunity for Chicago to further improve the Loop experience.”
“The CTA appreciates the efforts and vision behind The Wabash Lights project designers to enhance public art in Chicago,” said CTA Chief Planning Officer Carole Morey. “The CTA is proud to offer public art at more than 50 locations throughout our rail system and we look forward to working on this project during the beta test.”