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Artwork for Westlake/MacArthur Park Metro Rail Station in Los Angeles recognized as one of nation’s best public art projects


Tuesday June 21, 2011

Porcelain mosaic murals by Los Angeles artist Sonia Romero depicting urban life around MacArthur Park have been named one of the best public art projects in the United States by the organization Americans for the Arts.The announcement was delivered on June 16, during the Americans for the Arts annual convention in San Diego.

"MacArthur Park: Urban Oasis" by Sonia Romero

MacArthur Park: Urban Oasis is one of 47 artworks selected from over 400 competitors nationwide.

Americans for the Arts is the nation's leading nonprofit organization advancing the arts in America. Their Public Art Network Year in Review is the only national program that specifically recognizes public art projects.

For "MacArthur Park: Urban Oasis," Sonia Romero produced original linoleum cut artworks that rendered evocative scenes from the landmark Los Angeles park and adjacent historical buildings. The artworks were translated into 13 ceramic mosaic mural panels by highly specialized artisans at Mosaika Art & Design studio.

"MacArthur Park: Urban Oasis" by Sonia Romero

Echoing the park's bisection by Wilshire Boulevard, the mural panels were divided into two parallel facing walls at the station's mezzanine level. The artwork imagery reflects daily life in the iconic landscape on both sides of the park. More importantly, they connect Metro customers with the area's historic roots as riders journey through the station.

Also featured in El Pasajero and  The Source at

"I found the story of the park and its fluctuating energy stimulating and intriguing," said Romero. "I developed my concept around the idea that MacArthur Park is an urban oasis. It was my goal to create a public work, which celebrated the 120-year-old history of MacArthur Park and the people who use it."

    Sonia Romero in her Northeast LA studio.
    Sonia Romero in her Northeast LA studio. Photo by Gary Leonard.

Romero holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and is a graduate of the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts.

Her exhibitions include the inaugural solo exhibition at the Vincent Price Art Museum at East Los Angeles College (on view through August 19), a solo show at Avenue 50 Studio and a printmaking retrospective at Self Help Graphics.

Romero also recently completed a public art piece, Tierra del Sol, which hangs in the entry hall of the Dennis P. Zine community center in Canoga Park. Along with offering community art workshops for the HeArt Project, she has also worked with youth to complete four large-scale art installations at East LA swimming pools for the LA County Arts Commission.

Metro employs art and design to create a sense of place, engage transit riders, and improve quality of life throughout Los Angeles County.

Central to this objective, Metro Creative Services includes the agency's in-house design studio, which creates Metro's brand communications, and the agency's art and design excellence programs, which commission wide-ranging projects by visual artists and promote overall design quality of customer environments.

For more information about Metro's art programs and it's free docent guided tours, visit of call 213/922-4ART.