Vicki Meek, the manager of the South Dallas Cultural Center and local “artful advocate,” is retiring after decades of experience in the Dallas-area arts scene. DART passengers traveling on the Red, Orange and Green Lines know Meek’s artwork more than they may realize. Meek designed the artwork at Park Lane Station, Forest Lane Station and Hatcher Station.
Congratulations Vicki! Learn more about her artwork at each station:
Park Lane Station: Providing an urban oasis
Park Lane Station is one of DART’s busiest stations in terms of ridership. Station art and design provide a moment’s calm in the chaotic setting of a major city intersection.
The station’s blue columns to the aerial platform simulate falling water, descending 24 feet to the ground level. Wave-shaped flowerbeds add to the illusion.
Artist John Christensen created a site-specific sculpture, titled Suit, which serves a dual purpose. Its concrete pedestal near the bus waiting area provides comfortable seating and supports a weathered bronze sculpture representing a human form relaxing.
Forest Lane Station: Reflecting a natural setting rich in history
Forest Lane Station features stone support columns and limestone paving, blending in with the nearby Floyd Branch, a creek that curves through the area. A landscaped area forms “banks” along the stream, while large concrete boulders and trees create public seating in a natural setting.
Karl Ciesluk’s ceramic mosaic sculpture, Against the Mainstream, reflects both the natural setting and the history of nearby Hamilton Park – an early residential community built for middle-income African Americans at a time when they were denied similar housing in most Dallas neighborhoods.
The sculpture depicts fish swimming upstream, representing the determination of African Americans who spoke up for civil rights and fair housing. An open door, located above the mosaic waterfall within the sculpture, also underscores this theme.
This art project attempts to recover a neighborhood’s lost history and tie it to the present. Artist Vicki Meek had the vision of a community quilt and carried this vision throughout her design.
The landscaping and paving both use a quilted look, with the latter featuring offset gray pavers to create the appearance of stitching. The crosswalk pavers showcase the names of businesses that once thrived in the area, another nod to the community’s history.
Meek took old plats of the area and represented them on the square-shaped columns. The bottom of the columns uses blue tiles to represent water, a reference to Wahoo Lake, the natural body of water that once existed on the land where the station now sits.
The crown jewel of the station, however, is a student art project. Meek worked with young area art students on a two-part exercise to paint a then-and-now picture of the neighborhood. For the first part, the students interviewed an elder to find out what the neighborhood was like when he was a kid. They then used this information to draw a representation of the historical neighborhood. The second part asked the students to think back to their earliest memories and similarly draw representations of what the neighborhood was like when they were kids.
Meek received an overwhelming response from the community and used all of the submissions she received! To give each submission its due, Meek took the student work and collaged it into an art wall, again continuing the idea of a community quilt.
See this ambitious project for yourself. Take a ride to Hatcher Station and witness the true fabric of the South Dallas community.