Public Art at Light Rail Stations

April 14, 2021 General

As a joint project of SacRT and the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission Art in Public Places program, the purpose of the SacRT Public Art Program is to enhance the aesthetics and quality of the build environment at SacRT light rail stations. 

BLUE LINE (Northeast)

Station: Watt/I-80 
Artist: Margo Humphrey
Title: California Wildflowers
Date: 1987

A painter and printmaker from Oakland, California, Margo Humphrey chose the diverse California wildflowers as her subject. Captured in the pavement and dispersed in brightly colored ceramic tile are the morning glory, starflowers, paint brush, coastal cholla, larkspur, Indian pink, mule ear and California poppy.

Station: Watt/I-80 West
Artist: Leroy Wheeler Parker
Title: Symbols from the Sacred River of Life
Date: 1987

Inspired by the name Sacramento, Leroy Wheeler Parker’s Symbols from the Sacred River of Life embodies mystical and healing qualities, as does much of his work in painting, ceramics, and handmade paper.  The long-sacred symbols of the pine, star, triangle enclosed within a circle and the rive itself draw the viewer int o the spectrum where art and nature meet. 

Station: Roseville Road
Artist: Jack Shafer
Title: Puzzle Pieces
Date: 1987

Jack Shafer, a Sacramento artist, created the sculptural forms of Puzzle Pieces specifically to join the elements of the Roseville Road Station. The 12, three-foot puzzle shapes of integrally colored concrete suggest both the human form and a sense of interlocking unity, which is the fundamental principal behind each commuter site. 

Station: Marconi/ Arcade
Artist: Students at Short Center Sacramento
Title: Light Rail Neighborhoods
Date: 1987

Light Rail Neighborhoods is the unique end-product of a ceramic sculpture class at Short Center Sacramento, a fine arts program for adults with developmental disabilities.  With funding from the California Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, Rory Nakata guided and directed a group of nine Short Center students, explored the areas surrounding the Marconi Station and created glazed ceramic representations, or vignettes, of the neighborhoods. The student artists are: John Baroman, Wendie Chu, Martha Douglas, John Francisco, Ray Franklin, Gary Hilleary, Cynthia Huston, Angela McCartney, and Elizabeth Markham.

Station: Swanston
Artist: John Roloff
Title: The Ancient Valley (Sea Floor)
Date: 1987

“The conceptual elements of this project,” says artist John Roloff, “reflect two districts but related myths about the ancient history of the Sacramento Valley.  Geologically, the valley was covered for millions of yeas by an ancient sea that supported a great variety of organisms. From a cultural and historical perspective, we know that two Native American tribes the Maidu and Nisenan lived for centuries in the Sacramento area. Their creation story takes place on a raft in a world of only water. All the land that we now see was born from mud scraped from the bottom by the myth’s protagonist. Embedded in the pavement at the Swanston station we can witness the fossil remains of this geologic and cultural history.”

Station: Royal Oaks
Artist: Etsuko Sakimura
Title: Akebono-Dawning
Date: 1987

In Akebono-Dawning, Bay Area artist Etsuko Sakimura sought to “capture the beauty, mystery and energy of dawn.” The glazed ceramic tiles in sunrise colors are arranged in a fashion suggesting divergent paths leading to a central, two-dimensional rock garden. “The garden,” says Sakimura, “is where the energy of Dawning is focused, where the moment of enlightenment occurs. In silent meditation, let the beholder see what he or she seeks to find.”

Station: Arden/Del Paso
Artist: Jim Melchert
Title: Crossing Lights
Date: 1987

The angular strips of stainless-steel cutting across the station platform can be perceived most obviously as reflections of light and more suggestively as energy brilliance or weightlessness. Oakland artist, Jim Melchert, created the images to suggest the light rail trains themselves speeding through the pavement blocks of Sacramento.

Station: Globe
Artist: Rick Yoshimoto
Title: Aquamar
Date: 1987

Adjacent to the light rails tracks of steel are glazed ceramic tile tracks of water painted in all its various hues of gray, blue, green, and turquoise.  Represented are the spurt of a fountain, splash of a waterfall, snake of a river or creek, and cross and confluence of currents. 

Station: Alkali Flat/La Valentia 
Artist: Enrique Ortiz Villegas
Title: Sevir al Pueblo (Mexican Mural) Serve the People (Victorian Mural)
Date: 1987

The two brilliantly colored ceramic tile murals of the Alkali Flat/La Valentina Station encompass the diverse cultural influences of the surrounding neighborhood, as interpreted by Sacramento artist Henry Ortiz. 

Station: 13th Street 
Artist: Yoshio Taylor
Title: Roofline
Date: 1987

The pavement may seem an odd location for a piece entitles Roofline, but Sacramento artist Yoshio Taylor was aiming for exactly that kind of juxtaposition of images: the sky reflected in a lake and the tops of buildings in a puddle or pond. Representations of signs and businesses surrounding the 13th Street Station are set off by sharp zig-zag geometrics, suggestive of a roofline.

Station: 16th Street
Artist: Clayton Bailey
Title: Good Fortune
Date: 1987

Twenty-seven porcelain tiles embedded in the pavement create the whimsical illusion that the station is littered in money.  Newcomers to the site who first notice the money will feel lucky momentarily. The money looks real, except for the $16 bill, because the images were silk-screened.


Station: Sacramento Valley 
Artist: Cynthia Hurley
Title: Pools 
Date: 2006

Corten steel and stainless steel

Station: 23rd Street
Artist: Wayne Hayakawa
Title: The Sacramento River and Sacramento River Deep-Water Ship Canal
Date: 1987

In colored concrete, a map-like view of the Sacramento River from Cross Canal to Randall Island spreads across the pavement of the 23rd Street station. Wayne Hayakawa designed the project as a celebration and gentle reminder of the importance of the Sacramento River. The river has shaped our city and is vital to our lives. According to the California Water Atlas, 31 percent of the rainfall available for use in California flows in the Sacramento River. 

Station: 29th Street
Artist: Maria Alquilar
Title: Arkeology
Date: 1987

Reminiscent of the prehistoric cave paintings of the Old World, Arkeology by Sacramento artist Maria Alquilar brings together ancient imagery and modern cultural themes. Visual juxtaposition of the past and present add dimension to the concept of archeology and integrate into a twentieth century well-traveled-to-site. 

Station: 39th Street
Artist: Kathleen Kasper Noonan
Title: Chasing the Metaphor & Balancing Act
Date: 1987

Kathleen Kasper Noonan created three kinetic sculptures which appear as steel line drawings again the sky. Chasing the Metaphor, located at the station entrance at 40th Street, depicts a figure on a bicycle. As you enter the station at 39th and R streets, a pivoting unicyclist is performing a balancing act. On top of the gateway at the 30th Street shuttle turn-around is a butterfly net.

Station: 48th Street
Artist: Ed Haag
Title: Ribbons of Steel
Date: 1987

Ribbons of Steel is a large steel and split granite boulder that refers metaphorically to Theodore Judah’s dream of laying steel over the Sierra connecting the east with the west. SacRT’s light rail system follows the historic Sacramento Valley Railroad tracks of 1886, built by Theodore Judah. Lessons learned from this rail project assisted with the successful completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in the next decades. 

Station: 59th Street
Artist: Joseph DiStefano
Title: Mirage
Date: 1987

As you travel past the 59th Street Station look closely at the platform and you will notice a bird migrating in the same direction as the train. This is no ordinary bird. Constructed of rustic terrazzo, it transforms (by use of computer imagery) into the station’s street number 59.

Station: University/65th Street
Artist: David Middlebrook
Title: Time Shadow
Date: 1987

Because arrivals, departures, and schedules are of the essence for every commuter, a work with time as its central theme was the choice of Los Gatos artist David Middlebrook.  Time Shadow depicts the umbrage of the 65th Street Stations, permanent, vertical elements: trees, benches, lights, rain shelter.  Etched into pavement, the shadows approximate the sun’s position at 4 p.m.

Station: Power Inn
Artist: James Kouretas and Short Center Artists Stephanie Skalisky and Val Fernandez
Title: Elektron
Date: 1987

Due to its proximity to the towering pylons at Folsom and Power Inn, Elektron represents a natural extension of the surrounding forces at work. The high-tension electrical wires above are transformed into their counterparts on the pavement platform. Each lightning bolt consist of broken mosaic tile, giving visual form to the charged particles of both the adjacent substation and the light rail itself. In 2003, the Short Center disabled adult artists, let by Skalisky and Fernandez, added mosaic tile to columns when the station was double tracked. 

Station: College Greens
Artist: Marc H. Katano
Title: Boys Life & Mr. Lucky
Date: 1987

In this piece, San Francisco artist Marc Katano made use of the pavement as he would a canvas.  Abstract images begin in a circle from left to right facing the tracks and end in a circle in the hand-wrought concrete.  The artist refers to this as “go from an egg to an egg.” These lines on a field, which cover almost the whole surface of the station, can be conceived as the marks that each of us makes in the course of a life. In 2003, a bronze whimsical sculpture titled Mr. Lucky was added to the double-track station.

Station: Watt/Manlove
Artist: Joan Zalenski
Title: The Game of Wishful Thinking
Date: 1987

The Game of Wishful Thinking whimsically transforms the Watt/Manlove platform into a life size gameboard, the stations and the commuters are the playing pieces.  Players can move across the board by choosing the most appealing path. Rather than being controlled by cards, wheels or dice, the players are directed by their own dreams, desires, or fantasies.  There are no rules; there is no beginning or end, and moves may be repeated. As in life, there are many paths to choose from: for example, The Straight and Narrow Highway, The Road of Good Intentions, or The Din or No Equity.

Station: Starfire 
Artist: Diane Dame
Title: Starfire
Date: 1987

In colored concrete, glazed ceramic tile and sparkle, several constellation of the Milky Way galaxies guide the Starfire Station commuters to the trains, as the bright lights in the heavens have for millennia guided our ravels. Ursa Major, the Great Bear, symbol of the great state of California contains the seven start that form the Big Dipper. The North Star, sprinkled with fold dust, represents the shinning beacon that dew the forty-niners to Sutters Mill.

Station: Tiber
Artist: Gerald and Kelly Hong
Title: Auric Waterway
Date: 1987

Auric Waterway can be translated literally as golden stream, a theme befitting the Tiber Station on several levels. First, its name recalls the great river of Rome. Second, its location is still as important along the strategic Folsom corridor as it was during the Old Rush era. And third, Sacramento is a city of two vital waterways. As the train enters the station, the glazed ceramic tile and colored concrete of the platform begin as a wave that floes into a wide stream then gathers momentum (as the train speeds up again) to burst into another wave. 

Station: Butterfield
Artist: Susan Dannenfelser and Kirk Beck, Dannenbeck Tile
Title: End of the Line
Date: 1987

An illusionary stream meanders along the Butterfield platform then runs into a deep green pool, richly inhabited by dish and plant life, the End of the Line suggest no end at all. In the pool of water where life opens, closes then regenerates myriads of fish cavort, and lilies blossom amid glistening stones. The ceramic tile, glazed to a marble-like sheen, bring so much life to this miniature liquid world that one is tempted to test the waters and gently touch each plant and creature.  

Additional artwork was added in 1998. Dannenbeck Tile - covered 10-foot-tall columns with copper panels and tile serve as a sculptural gateway to the station. The copper panels imprinted with international symbols emphasize the commonality shared by different peoples.

Station: Mather Field / Mills
Artist: Yoshio Taylor
Title: Flight
Date: 1998

Yoshio created several art elements for this station all relating to aviation, including a 25-inch cast bronze sphere with a low relief surface that shows the path of a paper airplane. A series of 70 hand-fired ceramic tiles reiterate the paper airplane design forming a pathway through the station. 

Station: Zinfandel
Artist: Gerald Heffernon
Title: Train Hounds
Date: 2001

Whimsical bronze hound dogs sit on benches at the station platform waiting for the train. Two hounds face outbound toward Folsom, one hound looks inbound toward Sacramento.  

Station: Towne Center Cordova
Artist: Barry Kulman
Title: Echos of Function
Date: 2001

Iron, stainless steel and copper Two 10’ columns on each side of platform set back into planter/flower bed.

Station: Sunrise
Artist: Alan Osbourne
Title: Sun on the Rise
Date: 2001

Bronze circular pieces elevated.

Station: Hazel
Artist: Sam Tubiolo
Title: Transitions
Date: 2005

Concrete stone, ceramic tiles, and landscaping

Station: Iron Point
Artist: Larry Meeks
Title: untitled
Date: 2005

Steel artwork is on the fence separating the station platform from Folsom Boulevard.

Station: Glenn/Robert G. Holderness
Artist: Charlotte Cooper
Title: Oak Leaf Fall
Date: 2005

Granite and brass, bronze, or copper on platform near benches, platform, and walkways

Station: Historic Folsom
Artist: Philip Sciortino
Title: Folsom Bound
Date: 2005

Granite, brass, bronze, and copper


Station: Broadway
Artist: Me Smothers
Title: Ahead of Time
Date: 1987

The theme of this multi paneled mural of Acrylic and epoxy on plastic is time and travel – two issue directly affecting all light rail travelers. The mural was specially designed for viewers to enjoy a 3D “stereo-vision” effect. 

The viewer first encounters a stunning visual rhythm formed by repetition of images symbolizing strength and travel into the unknown. Throughout the panels, figures run to stay Ahead of Time as winged flute players encourage them on. Finally, just as time itself connects all humanity, a ribbon-like line winds its way throughout the composition, connection the visual elements of the mural together. 

Station: 4th Avenue/Wayne Hultgren
Artist: Ann La Caze-Massi
Title: Remnants of a Journey
Date: 1987

The creation of Sacramento’s light rail system was a dream turned into reality for the late social activist, Wayne Hultgren. For this station, named after Mr. Hultgren, artist Ann La Caze-Massi created artwork representing ideas about journeys and growth. 

Remnants of a Journey is a visual composition consisting of three sculptural elements in bronze titled Spirit, Passion and Soul. The light rial serves as a vessel created to carry us on our journeys, and the artist’s sculptures serve as a visual reminder of the things that the artist felt were necessary for successfully completing our individual life journeys. Later, in honor of  Mr. Hultgren, a bronze bust sculpture was added to the station.

Station: City College
Artist: Eun Lee Cho
Title: Speed, Exhilaration and Determination
Date: 1987

Eun Lee Sho was inspired to create the artwork after observing students using a popular mode of transportation as they passed through the campus. The life-size, semi-abstract figure on a bicycle is rendered in a loose, expressive style, reflecting the energy and dynamism of bicycle riders. Its exaggerated curves and gesture give an overall impression of speed, exhilaration and determination-thus the title of the bronze artwork.

Station: Fruitridge
Artist: C.W. Hurni
Title: Birds in Flight
Date: 2003

It was important to artist C.W. Hurni that her artwork generate a strong sense of “involvement, interest and pride” in the community surrounding the Fruitridge light rail station. Then, the artist obtained the community’s direct assistance by enlisting volunteers to use their hands as actual models for the station’s artwork, as well as participate in the painting process. 

The artist transformed the shapes of their hands into an assortment of winds for 20 individually fabricated aluminum birds perched on the galvanized steel posts. The birds are designed so that air movement causes their wings to rotate, simulating flight. 

Station: 47th Avenue
Artist: Robert Charland
Title: Diversity
Date: 2003

Since Sacramento is a “river city,” Robert Charland’s ceramic mural for this station addresses the theme of water. Water flows from the pitcher to three figures, whose faces are purposely depicted in arbitrary colors. This variety of color emphasizes “diversity” and underscores the universality of the essence of all human beings. Our common bond is that we all originate from the “source,” and that in our differences we are beautiful, regardless of race, ethnicity, etc. 

Station: Florin (station and grade separation wall)
Artist: Troy Corliss
Title: A Concrete Image Study by Luther Burbank High School students of the Life Diversity at the Cosumnes River Preserve as It Relates to the Native Wetland and Woodland Habitats of the Sacramento Valley
Date: 2003

Historically, the area in South Sacramento now occupied by Florin Road was comprised of seasonal wetlands. To convey this natural history, artist Troy Corliss collaborated with Luther Burbank High School art students and instructors to create the station artwork. 

Students used the Cosumnes River Preserve as a model for the project because of its likeness to Florin’s original environment.  The wildlife images were then rendered into cast concrete column bases for the shelter structure and tiles for the grade separation walls. 

Other elements generated during the project include cast concrete bird finials that top the shelter structure columns, steel crop circles and quotes attached to the railing on the grade separation walls. 

Station: Meadowview
Artist: Donna Billick 
Title: Cultural Totems & Celestial Harvest
Date: 2003

Artist Donna Billick created a two-part artistic  treatment for this station, inspired by the Meadowview community’s rich cultural diversity.  Cultural Totems consists of community-build mosaic inlays placed in all fours sides of 16 cement columns supporting the station’s shelters.  As a result, Cultural Totems in an intriguing “visual survey of icons and symbols that define our world.” And to complement these creations, the artist designed a lighting strategy titles, Celestial Harvest. This artwork consists of lighted poles of varying length that reach into the night sky , signaling the location of the station and its Cultural Totems. 

Station: Franklin
Artist: David Best
Title: Untitled
Date: 2015

David Best is an internationally-renowned sculptor based in Petaluma, California. He is most well-known  for building immense temporary temples out of recycled wood for the Burning Man Festivals held in Rock City, Nevada. 

Best’s sculpture at the Franklin light rail station is fabricated out of 1” plasma cut steel and is meant to be a gateway and beacon that welcomes and honors the diversity and hard work of the community.  It straddles the main walkway from the parking lot to the main station platform. While the shape is reminiscent of a temple, it is not meant to represent any particular culture or religion. Instead, it is meant to broadly welcome all cultures and invite individual interpretation.

Station: Center Parkway
Artist: Joyce Hsu
Title: Migration
Date: 2015

Migration is comprised of three free standing aluminum Monarch butterflies mounted on steel structural supports on the edge of the station’s shade structure.  Monarch butterflies are noted for their lengthy annual migration. In North America they make massive southward migrations starting in August until the frost. The Sacramento Area is part of this annual natural spectacle. Like the Monarch butterflies, thousands of commuters travel daily between one’s place of resident and place of work or study. “Migration” is a sculpture that celebrates journeys taken every day and the simple beauty of everyday life.

Station: Cosumnes River College (bridge over intersection of Cosumnes River Boulevard and Bruceville Road)
Artist: Mike Ross
Title: Moire Array
Date: 2015

In place of the standard metal bridge railing, Berkeley sculptor Mike Ross opted for a decorative fence on the west side of the bridge where it spans Consumnes River Boulevard.  The fence consists of two layers of painted metal bars, tall enough to be visible through the light rail vehicle windows. Each layer creates a moire effect that shifts depending on the viewpoint of the observer. As motorists, pedestrians or light rail passengers move toward and along the bridge, they will see continuously changing patterns. 

Station: Cosumnes River College (station platform)
Artist: Mike Ross
Title: Silver Lining
Date: 2015

A sinuous pencil-wide line weaves through the station platform and bus plaza, crossing all manner of surfaces: concrete platform, curb and walls, precast concrete seats, brick walls, etc. Passengers may not notice the line at first but eventually they will realize that its curvature distinguishes it from the rectilinear architectural elements of the station.  Their curiosity may lead students and children to explore the length of the line.


Station: 7th & Richards/Township 9
Date: 2012

Quotes from famous Sacramentans are etched in the columns.