Transit Story

Jill Anholt Studio

30 unique figures in the style of the air grates that they are affixed to, yet each at a unique angle and all along a curved radius.

The first public artwork that Heavy Industries completed for our home city of Calgary is a unique work along the city’s 7th Avenue transit corridor.  Transit Story is integrated with the metal air grates along the transit platform and includes 30 unique and colourful figures.   The artwork is painted to appear as blue and teal tones when viewed from one angle and orange and yellow tones from the other. In this way, the artwork has a colour-shifting effect when viewed from a passing train.  Due to the curvature and unique angle of each figure, the figures were custom fabricated using a curved jig to template each figure for welding.

Each figure was painted in multiple colours from a set of 6 unique pantones following a multi-stage process that included priming, extensive masking before each colour, spraying the multiple colours of paint, and then repeating this process for the lower 1/3 of each figure and shadow lines after the figures had been welded to the grates.

The complexity of this project is apparent in quantities:

  • 2,500 linear feet of mild steel
  • 15,000 welds to meet structural standards
  • Over 3,500 notches cut at intersecting junctions
  • 29,000 feet of masking tape used in the painting process
  • 104 litres of paint to create the planned aesthetic

Artist:  Jill Anholt
Client:  Jill Anholt Studio for the City of Calgary Transportation Department
Place:  7th Avenue and Centre Street light rail transit platform | Calgary, Alberta
Size:  30 figures at human scale
Materials:  Steel, coatings, lighting


Learn the tale of  Transit Story:


Get the skinny