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May 31, 2002
Art & design team inspired by natural spring
New Spring Valley Station reflects Richardson's history, heritage
Seeds sown by the Youiane Tribe during the 1600s inspired art designs at DART's new Spring Valley Station opening July 1 on Spring Valley Road east of North Central Expressway in Richardson.
Representations of flowers and vines highlight designs at the station located next to one of the city's original watering holes. Once home to several Indian tribes, the site's new rail stop will renew its major role in the city's growth.
Seeds are among numerous images featured at the new train station. Figures of vines climb the station's columns and are celebrated in a series of 9x6-foot metal panels hanging from the highest rafters. These banner-like panels are etched with portraits of seeds, vines and flowers that underscore the meaning of the name "Spring Valley."
"The representation of flowers is exquisitely done," says Rene Rodriguez, DART's chief architect. "The art is very delicate and detailed to provide a thoughtful interpretation of the station and its neighborhood."
The artistic theme is continued on a second-story screen between the station and the apartments next door, where vines etched into metal fences double as a visual element, Rodriguez adds.
Carrollton artists Chong Keun Chu and Hyun Ju Chung, a husband and wife team, designed the station's theme of nature and history. Working together for the first time, they collaborated on design plans for the station's art and pavement.
"A garden theme is perfect because the station is another sign of a growing city," says Chu, an art faculty member at Brookhaven College. "Springs represent the vitality and growth that are so important to Richardson's history and its future."
The new Spring Valley Station opens July 1 along with six other new passenger stops debuting in Richardson and North Dallas. As for all DART stations, an art advisory committee from the neighborhood helped research and select design elements reflecting the community's spirit.
"We're excited to see an actual, living space that we first put on a piece of paper years ago," Chu says. "It's great to be involved in public art."
After meeting at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, the Korean/American couple moved to Carrollton 18 years ago. They work from their home, fashioning designs often based on nature themes. Along with her art, Chung has taught at the Dallas Museum of Art. Both artists have exhibited at the Edith Baker Gallery and participate in many Asian art events.
"We're committed to synthesizing Eastern culture with our current daily life in the West," says Chu. "For example, the vine is a symbol found in the art of many cultures, including art from Egypt and the Middle East."
The vine theme is also reflected in a complex puzzle featured at the station's pedestrian entrance. The pattern is constructed using a tangram or a geometric design that tells the story of movement.
Chung conceived the tangram from her work that portrays human figures running, dancing and playing. Her husband used a computer program to correctly place each and every item in the right spot. "The final piece was assembled almost like a jigsaw puzzle," Chu said.
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