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I had a very interesting experience this past Saturday morning, which I wanted to share with you. This connects directly to my last post about free things to check out and see in Los Angeles.

I never knew before this past weekend that the Los Angeles Metro system offers free art tours of the Metro stations. This might sound strange for you New Yorkers out there, but apparently when Los Angeles went to build a metro for the city, they enlisted artists to design each station. Like many Angelenos, I had never been on the Metro before and did not have a clue about the history to the system, which is pretty young compared to other cities. The Los Angeles metro system only began in the 1990s.

Each Metro station is very different and has original themes, created by each artist, that are supposed to connect to the area (neighborhood) where the station is located.

Our first stop was the station where we met our docent: Hollywood & Highland.

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It had a very cool design to it. He spoke about a theme regarding celebrity and its fakeness as well as the female anatomy.

The second station we went to was Vermont & Santa Monica. This was a very intriguing one. You can’t see as well from the photo below, but when you look at the next photo down you will clearly see that there are questions written all over the walls of the station.

Time and weather has worn them down a bit, but there are 10,000 questions written on the walls, questions about life, death, and art.     

After this, we moved on to Vermont and Sunset. This one was my second favorite out of all five that we saw. From the entrance of the Metro, you are surrounded by hospitals as well as a wonderful view of the Griffith Park Observatory. The artist combined the ideas of the universe and medicine.

The image below is at the entrance of the station and is a sort of model of the observatory. As you go deeper into the station, you can see how both of the themes are incorporated.

This could be stars in the sky, or the little holes could represent pills.

On the floor of the station, there are representations of the planets, and what is especially cool is that on each one, there is a print of something medically related, like what DNA looks like, or a white blood cell, or even the AIDS virus.

You can see our docent here giving us information about the constellations on the wall in front of us.

The fourth station that we went to was Hollywood & Western.  The artist for this station was all about the mix of all of the cultures around the area. Another interesting thing was incorporated into this station. While digging to make the station, some prehistoric bones were found. So you see there is some art included that represents the prehistoric animals that were once there.

The start of a poem and some of the representations of the bones are found in the tunnels. The many colors were meant to represent the cultures, and these symbols represent many different cultures as well.

The artist also put a little tribute up of the old rail cars that used to be the public transportation in Los Angeles but were bought by the city of Melbourne, Australia and cleaned up. If you ever go there, you will know that the car you are riding on once traveled the streets of Los Angeles.

The last station that we went to, and my personal favorite, was Hollywood & Vine. This station was all about old Hollywood.

These film reels line the ceiling of the station, and if you look closely when you are there, you’ll see that they actually are painted shades of blue, growing darker as you move along.

The little sign above tells you about the notes that are on all of the railings. There are also projectors and hand painted art tiles. This station has it all as far as I am concerned, but of course I am a film nerd.

To get more information about the LA Metro Art Tours, just click on the link. They are free, but only certain days per month. Here is the art guide for the whole metro system as well.

Also, if you want to get a sense of what the tour is like, check out this video someone put together of their experience on the tour; actually I had the very same docent. He told us that ours was going to be his last tour, but there are other docents that give the tour for Metro.

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