A new public art project at Merillon Avenue commissioned by MTA Arts & Design, LIRR and MTA Construction and Development celebrates the landscape of the community surrounding the station. The glass windows of two new elevator towers and areas along each platform are based on multimedia paintings by New York State based artist Cara Enteles.
The concept of the artwork is centered on the monarch butterfly, considered by the artist to be “the ultimate commuter”, which annually makes a 3,000-mile migration between Canada, Florida, and Mexico. The flight path crosses this region of New York State at the end of each summer. These butterflies are one link in a delicate chain of the global ecosystem, pollinating wildflowers along their international route, and serving as a food source for birds and small animals.
Enteles’ project Commuting Through Nature depicts monarchs in each composition throughout the station. They are stunningly rendered in laminated glass, which allows light to filter through and illuminate the naturally occurring vibrancy. These butterflies appear alongside flowers and plants that will be familiar to residents of Garden City or visitors to the Garden City Bird Sanctuary. Among them are various types of Milkweed, Asters, Queen Anne’s Lace, vines, and other local plant life, lovingly selected by Enteles who is an avid gardener. The oversized scale allows those who encounter the artwork to become immersed in the vista. The images are activated by light that changes over the course of a day, and through the seasons of the year.
The original artwork created by Enteles in her studio combines silkscreen printing and oil painting on industrial substrates such as aluminum and Plexiglas, a unique technique that mimics the natural reflection of light. The artist then worked with artisans to translate the work into the large panels of glass for the elevator towers and shelters, linking the art with the surrounding station architecture. She also provided the design of a motif for a decorative metal fence along a portion of the platform.
The artwork is part of a complete rebuilding of the Merillon Avenue station. As part of the LIRR Expansion Project, Merillon Avenue Station will receive station enhancements developed after extensive consultation with the community, including platform removal and replacement to accommodate 12-car trains; platform canopies; new platform furnishings and accoutrements including benches, shelters, and signage; CCTV security cameras to improve safety; ADA-compliant mobility improvements including elevators and ramps; free public Wi-Fi; USB charging stations and digital information displays. New bike racks will also be installed.