Arts in Transit: Art Proposal Shaker Heights, Lee Road/Van Aken Station
This is the opportunity to tell the story of the North Union Shakers who settled in this location in 1822. Printing large format art on weatherproof metal panels, we can bring the early Shakers to life using archival photography, photo realistic imagery and phrases. These are the very people who established this prosperous area that the Shaker Heights of present time is named after. The Shakers believed that community is exemplified and increased by the health and integration of its individuals. This legacy survives and is observed through the tradition and beauty of the Shaker Heights community, providing a new appreciation for the journey we take today.
The Lee Road/Van Aken Station becomes the intersection where these interrelationships are presented through the proposed art. At the Station entry an old Berea limestone base with date and inscription supports [Panel A]. At the top is the Shaker, Tree of Life symbol under which a map and legend provides an authentic survey of the original Shaker settlement. Here we are introduced to the Shakers first urban plan that tamed the Doan Brook and created the Shaker Lakes.
Descending the stairway to the platform [Panel B] are composed the only surviving images of the historic structures that were identified on the legend at the station entry. The gristmill, meetinghouse, family houses, school etc. show an impressive array of the Shaker architecture. The colorful indigenous wildlife specimens remind us of living closely with the land. [Panel D] provides rare image impressions of the actual North Union individuals working together in daily activities. Bee keeping, laundry, hauling trees to the mill are routines presented with household items and vintage labels used for the distribution of their goods.
The arrival and departure platform is a unique public space because like an elevator we have an opportunity to relax and come to an opened, quiet self-awareness. Here we find east and westbound areas [Panel C] where larger than life sized figures present Shaker Men sitting together on one side of the platform with the women facing the men on the opposite platform location. Establishing the male/female separation of Shaker tradition we find ourselves in relation to these ancestors as we wait for our train. The encounter adds a new dimension, to sit with the Shakers we are invited to have a true “Shaker” experience.
This concept helps to establish the new Regional Transit Authority, Lee Rd/Van Aken Station as a landmark destination. With proximity to City Hall, Court, Police, Library, Community Center and market areas the RTA Blue line Station becomes an integral component serving the Shaker community today. With “Shaker” identity recognition, this station recreates a crossroad where the founding of Shakers origin is realized through art.