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Jason Olson, Deseret Morning News
Artist Kerry Transtrum demonstrates the process of creating the glass reliefs after taking plaster casts of area residents' faces.

They are putting their best face forward. Art at the new 900 South TRAX stop is representing the neighborhood.

"This is really their station. It's going into their station, and we wanted them to be as much a part of it as we could," said Kerry Transtrum, one of the artists.

Dan Cummings, lead artist on the project, explained the stop will feature three towers that resemble houses. From those houses will peek glass faces — some abstract and some actual molds of children's faces from the neighborhood.

Cummings demonstrated the process of taking the molds Tuesday in his studio with 13-year-old Jonathan Willie.

As the pink alginate molding liquid was poured over his face, Willie breathed through a straw and tried not to pucker his lips too much. Later, he said it felt cold but good. He's excited to show his friends and is pretty sure his brother will be jealous.

Willie's alginate mold will now be filled with hot wax to create a firmer mold. The glass will be poured into the wax mold at a kiln in Layton to create the multicolored faces that will decorate the station.

Artists Transtrum, Cummings and Dinah Ihle also will put together glass benches that resemble interlocking hands. The hands will be made of different color glass pieces, melted together to look like fabric.

"We want people to drive by and say, 'Did you see that TRAX stop?' " Cummings said.

Themed art is not uncommon along TRAX stops. Scales of justice tower over the courthouse stop on 450 S. Main. Books are scattered and piled along the library stop at 225 E. 400 South. Because it is the first TRAX station to be built in a primarily residential neighborhood, the artists saw it fitting to use the faces of some of those neighbors as the main art.

"The concept is very nice and loving. You just want to be part of it," Ihle said.

Molds of children from ages 10 and up will decorate the three towers, or houses. The children have been chosen at random — the artists used their own faces, their children's faces and the faces of kids like Willie, who are from the community.

"It's good for us to all come together," Willie said.

The project is paid for by the Salt Lake City Redevelopment Agency. Total construction costs are $1.2 million. This is the first new station added to the north-south TRAX line since it opened in 1999.

"I really hope that it gives the neighborhood a general sense of, 'Oh, look at who we are and look at who we can become,' " Cummings said.


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