There are new large scale art works spread over miles of RTA track from the Windemere station all the way to Cleveland Hopkins.
Ten artists from Cleveland and around the world converged to make the project a reality, just in time for the Republican National Convention.
The price tag is just over $500,000 with funding coming from the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) and the Cleveland Foundation.
Of course, when you are moving at 35 miles an hour, some of the big murals are easy to miss. And they can only be seen by people riding the Red Line.
Each art work was inspired by a an award winning book or poem. So far the reviews from RTA Red Line customers have been very good.
Ariana Cox and her husband, Charles, ride the Red Line every week. “It's a good thing to look at as you are passing by on the rapid. It's nice to look at. Oh, there's one right there!" A few rows away, Johannesburg Benninghoff smiled as he looked at the new art installations. “I actually like it, it spruced up something that's normally tagged with inappropriate stuff ,and I like the art. It gives the artists another canvas so to speak to paint on and spruce up the city.”
One of the artists involved in the project, Osman Mohammad, used to spray paint graffiti along the tracks when he was a kid. Now his beautiful artwork is on public display. His canvas is a huge city wall.
Osman told WKYC Channel 3’s Mike O’Mara, “It's just anytime we came down here, we thought what if, what if the city paid us. Ha, ha, ha.”
At the Cleveland Foundation, Karen Long is program manager of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards and said that every piece of art was inspired by an award winning book or poem.
“I think one of the most profound ways a person can be alive in their city is through art and through literature,” said Long, “and this is a unique marriage of the two of them.”
However, on the Red Line there were some art critics like Richard Golden and his family. “No, it's not worth the money,” said Golden, “because our playgrounds and our school districts have yet to be improved, and I feel our city should be investing in that rather than paintings on public transportation.”
In the next rail car, Stan Ohge disagreed. “Oh no, that ain't no waste of money,” said Ohge. He added, “It actually brings out Cleveland to the point, where you see the project, and you be like "Wow, I wonder who did that.'”
The art project will conclude prior to the opening of the Republican National Convention with the addition of two huge photo displays at each of the main terminals.