End of the Red Line

Submitted by Sina Lightworks

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Client: Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority

Location: Cambridge, MA, United States

Completion date: 1985

Project Team

Other

Moira Sina

Art Consultant

Cambridge Arts Council

Overview

End of the Red Line is located at Alewife (MBTA station), in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Approximately 800 red neon tubes are suspended from a 320 feet (98 m) long section of the station ceiling, directly above the outbound train tracks. The tubes sway gently as the trains enter and dispatch.

Goals

A key criteria of this installation was to incorporate the color red as reference to this particular MBTA line. That was the easy part. More difficult was to enhance the sense of place and motion while providing a piece that could endure the conditions in the station. We accomplished this through unique connectors and our single electrode approach, allowing the tubes to be mounted securely yet sway gently in response to the trains.

Process

As a highly visible public art project, this required acceptance by many people and groups. The process involved the Cambridge Arts Council, MBTA representatives, community development representatives, members of local historical societies, local residents and business representatives and an arts administrator.

Additional Information

Arts on the Line was a program devised to bring art into the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)'s subway stations. It was the first program of its kind in the United States and became the model for similar drives for art across the country.