Art in Transit

Celebrating 50 Years in Space!

Saturday July 20, 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 space ship landing on the Moon. If you take Metro to L’Enfant Plaza (the closest station to the museum’s D.C. building), keep an eye out for Chip and Batty, the two dogs featured in the larger-than-life NASA-inspired photomurals by renowned photographer William Wegman.

In 2001, Wegman was commissioned by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) to produce an artwork using photographs of his iconic Weimaraner dogs dressed in NASA space suits. He was loaned a replica suit, typically used in public exhibitions, to create the illusion of dogs in space.

Using photos from that portrait session, Wegman, NASA, DCCAH, and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) collaborated to produce and install the large-scale public artworks located above the D & 7th Streets and D & 9th Streets exits at L’Enfant Plaza Metro Station.

The photomurals, printed on porcelain enamel panels, are each 10 feet in diameter and weigh approximately 650 pounds. The artworks were donated to WMATA and have been on display at the station since June 2005.

Artist: William Wegman, Title: H-E-L-L-OArtist: William Wegman
Title: H-E-L-L-O
Artist: William Wegman, Title: Space SetArtist: William Wegman
Title: Space Set

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Art in Transit Program incorporates visual and performing arts into the Metrorail system to enhance the experience of public transit riders. The Art in Transit Program works with visual and performing artists, other arts professionals, architects, engineers, community representatives, jurisdictional arts councils, and the WMATA Board of Directors to develop projects and performances that reflect the spirit and vitality of communities served by Metro.

The Art in Transit Program:

  • Utilizes the WMATA transit environment as a place where customers and the public can enjoy the arts as a regular part of their daily lives.
  • Contributes to the reputation of the region as a place where art abounds, and where the artistic interests of its communities are recognized, valued and celebrated.
  • Encourages public-private partnerships to support art projects that may not be achieved independently.
  • Mitigates the impact of construction on surrounding communities by incorporating visual artwork into the preparation and building phases of new transit projects.
  • Increases enthusiasm and support of WMATA and its interest in serving the public.

All images contained on this website have been reproduced with the knowledge and prior consent of the artists presented and no responsibility is accepted by Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority for any infringement of copyright or otherwise, arising from the contents of this website.