Meet the artist for the Capitol Hill Link light rail station; sculptor to talk about “Burning Man” work and other installations

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As part of February’s Capitol Hill Artwalk, Sound Transit invites Capitol Hill residents and others to meet sculptor Mike Ross to learn more about his past work as he prepares designs for his upcoming art installation at the Capitol Hill light rail station.

Sound Transit chose Ross as the artist to join the design team planning the station after a call-to-artists attracted 120 applicants. Ross will give a talk at Seattle Central Community College about his past work at 8 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 12 as part of the open house meeting. Members of the Capitol Hill Station design team will also attend the open house, which will take place in Room BE-1110.

Ross’ 42-foot Big Rig Jig sculpture of two oil tanker trucks upended and entwined was one of the memorable art installations at the 2007 Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert. According to Ross, Big Rig Jig is both a visual metaphor for non-sustainability and a contemplation of society’s unique ability to recognize and change its most destructive behaviors.

Ross, of New York City, uses a wide range of media in his work to explore elements of light, space, form and interactivity. Ross’ sculptures have been seen throughout New York, in Key West, Amsterdam and Berlin, and he has been awarded the Grand Esplanade Award for Sculpture in Key West, Florida.

The artist wants to learn more about the community before unveiling his artwork proposal with the light rail station’s 60 percent design drawings later this spring. The meeting is free and open to the public. The event is co-sponsored by the Sound Transit Art Program – STart, the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce, and Seattle Central’s M. Rosetta Hunter Art Gallery.

Capitol Hill Station is one of two planned stations on the underground 3.15-mile University Link light rail line from downtown Seattle to the University of Washington campus. Sound Transit is working to start building University Link in 2008 after receiving a $750 million federal grant for which Sound Transit has received the Federal Transit Administration’s highest possible rating. Completion is scheduled for 2016. The $1.7 billion project is projected to add 70,000 daily riders to the Link light rail that opens in 2009 between downtown Seattle and Sea-Tac International Airport.

The University Link project connects the three largest urban centers in the region: downtown Seattle, Capitol Hill and the University District. The project will offer much faster travel times for transit passengers than buses. Light rail will carry passengers from downtown to the University in 9 minutes instead of 25 and to Capitol Hill in 6 minutes instead of 14. Trips between Capitol Hill and the University District will take 3 minutes instead of 22. Riders will enjoy reliable service no matter how bad the weather or traffic congestion. 

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Sound Transit’s regional network of express buses, commuter rail, light rail and transit facilities connects communities in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.