Veterans and Metro-Commissioned Artist Explore Flora and Fauna to Inspire Artwork for Future Westwood/VA Station

West LA VA Medical Center veterans photographed and sketched the species, colors and shapes of natural flora and fauna at the UCLA Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden during a two-day art workshop directed by commissioned Westwood/VA Hospital station artist Francesco Simeti.

Back in April we announced the 17 commissioned artists by Metro Art to create artwork for four stations on the second and third sections of the Purple Extension (D Line) between Miracle Mile and the West LA Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center.

Artists are already getting started. Earlier this summer, Westwood/VA Hospital station artist Francesco Simeti led a two-day art-making workshop for veterans who live on the VA campus. The workshop was a collaboration between subway artthe West LA VA Medical Center and the UCLA Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden.

The first day took place at the nearby botanical garden. The veterans explored the area’s natural flora and fauna, which Simeti shared and which will be featured alongside Los Angeles landmarks, in the monumental landscape he is creating for the station. Cole Oost, from the garden, led the group of veterans and shared fascinating facts about the living collection. Participants documented plant species, colors and shapes using photographs and sketches.

On the second day of the workshop, the group met in the VA Art Room of the Domiciliary, a veterans residential and medical services facility on the historic VA campus. Participants pasted printed images of the garden visit and continued to work on their botanical sketches guided by Simeti. Veterans, some of whom hadn’t made art in decades, were engrossed in the process.

Brenna Partridge, the recreation therapist who oversees the VA’s arts program, was excited about how the veterans and Simeti inspired each other.

“[One of my patients] used to spend quite a bit of time in the art room, but he hasn’t been there for several months,” Partridge explained. “This project has totally rekindled his interest in accessing his creative/artistic side and is a fun achievement on how this collaboration has helped someone beyond the studio.”

Simeti plans to incorporate elements of veteran artwork into his design for the future ticketing area of ​​Westwood/VA Hospital Station. The idea is to bring a sense of shared ownership to the public artwork once it is installed at the station.

Click on here learn more about station artwork for the Purple Line (D Line) Extension Transit Project.

Click on here to learn more about West LA VA Medical Center and its programs serving the veteran community.

Click on here to learn more about the UCLA Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden, which is free and open to the public on the UCLA campus seven days a week.

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Veterans exploring the natural flora and fauna of UCLA’s Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden with Cole Oost, the Botanical Garden’s Education, Outreach and Communications Manager.

The group then gathered in the VA campus art room at the Domiciliary, where they pasted printed images from the garden tour and worked on their botanical sketches.

Francesco Simeti, artist commissioned by Metro Art, guided the workshop participants on day 2 of the workshop.

A workshop participant discussing her work with Westwood/VA Hospital Station the artist Francesco Simeti.

Categories: Metro Art, Transportation News

Tagged as: Brenna Partridge, Francesco Simeti, Metro Art, MetroArtLA, Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden, UCLA, University of California Los Angeles, VA Medical Center, veterans, West Los Angeles

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