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Vertical Circulation Building Public Art

Title: Betwixt

Artist: JoAnn Verburg

Material: Colored glass

Colored glass panels are installed as the windows on this vertical tower connecting downtown St. Paul's Central Station with the skyway system. Silhouette images of birds, cut from mirror, are also on upper windows. There is a terrazzo floor that changes in tone as one ascends the stairs.

This artwork is in a shared facility between the City of St. Paul and Metro Transit. The Public Art is owned and maintained by the City of St. Paul.

Public art Central Station

Public art Central Station

Public art Central Station

The vertical connector at Central Station connects people with the ground and the sky. As people transition from the ground level to the skyway level, they will find the terrazzo floor transitioning from a dark grey to varying middle value greys on the stairs to almost white at the top level. They will also notice the transition of colored glass go from deep reds and oranges to lighter colors with the top level being blue and white glass. At the top most course of glass along the elevator shaft, there are crow images made of mirror that give a sense of movement as one climbs the stairs to be in the sky.

Public art Central Station

Sampling of colors and crow silhouette

JoAnn Verburg is an American photographer who uses large format cameras to shoot life-size portraits, still life's and landscapes. Verburg's images create narrative sequences that generate a state of prolonged experience; not a state of motion, but, rather, how we view images, as in mirroring the eye's movement during the act of looking.

She made a name for herself in the late 1970s with "The Rephotographic Survey Project," a collaborative exhibition and book that recreated more than 120 images of largely uninhabited Western landscapes in the 19th century. Using cameras, lenses and film that approximated the technology of their 19th-century predecessors, they waited for weather conditions that replicated the light in the original photographs, then rephotographed each place. The resulting then-and-now comparisons showed what the passage of time had done to those vistas. Surprisingly, what endured – the same trees, boulders and riverbeds – was often just as poignant as the changes to the landscape over time.

Verburg studied at Ohio Wesleyan University, earning her Bachelors of Arts in Sociology. She earned her Masters of Fine Art in Photography from the Rochester Institute of Photography, New York. Verburg moved to Minnesota in 1981 where she was an artist-in-residence at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. She splits her time between St. Paul, Minnesota and Spoleto, Italy.

Public art by JoAnne Verburg

Untitled triptych, 2013

The vertical circulator at Central Station was built, after the station was completed, as a means to get people from the skyway to the sidewalks, train platform and bus stop located at street level. The art in the circulator is the property of the City of St. Paul. Currently, the property immediately east and south of the vertical circulator is undeveloped. When it is developed it is hoped the circulator and its art is incorporated, but it is understood that it may not be possible to incorporate it into new architecture. One aspect of the circulator art that is often overlooked is the change in tone of the terrazzo floor and steps which transition from a dark grey to varying middle value greys on the stairs to almost white at the top level.

Public art by Park McDonald

Original terrazzo floor design plan