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 types, colors and shapes of natural flora and fauna at UCLA’s Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden in a two-day art workshop led by commissioned by Westwood/VA Hospital Station artist Francesco Simetti.

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

The artists are already starting. Earlier this summer, Westwood/VA Hospital Station commissioned artist Francesco Simetti led a two-day art-making workshop for veterans who live on the VA campus. The workshop was a collaborative effort between Metro Arton West LA VA Medical Center and on UCLA Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden.

The first day was held at a nearby botanical garden. Veterans studied the region’s natural flora and fauna, which Simetti said will be featured alongside Los Angeles landmarks in the monumental landscape he’s creating for the station. Cole Ost, from the garden, led the veteran group and shared interesting facts about the living collection. Participants documented plant species, colors and shapes through photographs and sketches.

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

Brenna Partridge, the recreation therapist who directs the VA’s art program, was moved by how the veterans and Simeti inspired each other.

“[One of my patients] “He spent a lot of time in the art room, but he’s been gone for many months,” Partridge shared. “This project has completely rekindled his interest in accessing his creative/artistic side and is a fun success story of how this collaboration has helped someone outside of the workshop.”

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

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

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

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

Click here for more information on Metro Art. Follow Metro Art on Facebook and Instagramand subscribe to email updates.

Veterans exploring the natural flora and fauna of UCLA’s Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden with Cole Oost, director of education, outreach and communications at the botanic garden.

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

Metro Art commissioned artist Francesco Simetti leads workshop participants on Day 2 of the workshop.

A workshop participant discussing her artwork with Westwood/VA Hospital Station artist Francesco Simetti.

Categories: Metro Art, Transport 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

Leave a Comment