A Golden Opportunity: Community Treated To Gold Line Open House

Glendora Station Artist Michael Hillman talks with some residents about the tiled artwork examples at the Gold Line Open House Thursday, April 23. Photo by Aaron Castrejon.

Residents were given the opportunity to look at the Gold Line yet to come during an open house in the Glendora Public Library’s Bidwell Forum April 23.

Artists for each of the six planned Azusa to Montclair stations had their designs on display, including the night’s featured artist, Michael Hillman, displaying a kaleidoscope of color choices and styles for Glendora’s future station.

As of now, the Azusa to Montclair segment (Phase 2B) is in the advanced engineering phase after having an Environmental Impact Report certified in 2013. The Construction Authority is seeking $1 billion in funding for the next phase with anticipated construction taking place in 2017.

A proposed sales tax measure that would fund Phase 2B construction will go on the ballot in Los Angeles County in November of 2016.

Station Artist: Michael Hillman

Glendora Station artist Michael Hillman spoke with residents about his ceramic style choices Thursday, April 23. Photo by Aaron Castrejon.

Glendora Station artist Michael Hillman spoke with residents about his ceramic style choices Thursday, April 23. Photo by Aaron Castrejon.

It seemed from the start that Michael Hillman was meant for this project.

“The day I was selected, my horoscope said ‘everything you touch will turn to gold’,” Hillman said.

It was that day in 2005 when Glendora selected the Citrus College ceramics professor to design its Gold Line station art.

Hillman has taught at Citrus College for 18 years.

Though Phase 2B has met some huge financial obstacles, Hillman has remained the city’s artist of choice. In that time, however, he has had to re-imagine his original concept, convening with a recently reformed Station Design and Art Review Committee.

“It’s completely changed. Initially it was all about orange crates and orange labels, because that was artwork that was very indicative of Glendora,” Hillman said.

Public artwork displayed in many areas in the San Gabriel Valley already incorporate the citrus industry history this area was known for.

Over the last year, Hillman went back to the drawing board and decided on emphasizing the flora growing throughout Glendora: the Bougainvillea flowers and vines made famous on Bennett Avenue, the endangered Brodiaea filofolia of the Glendora foothills, the Moreton Bay fig tree growing in Big Tree Park and water spray designs symbolizing the Rain Bird Corporation.

The title for Hillman’s work is “Glendora: A Slice of Sunshine.”

Link: Future Glendora Station

Hillman has been experimenting with different ceramic styles for the station art, including colored glazes; different techniques including cuerda seca, a tin-based glaze called majolica; and clear, shiny glazes with glazes underneath.

Link: Glendora Station Art Visualizations

The Glendora Station, to be built behind the Glendora Village Collection, will also incorporate eight columns approximately eight feet tall and adorned with glass tesserae tiles. As Gold Lines trains approach from the west, the columns will have artwork shift and change with the movement of the train.

“I’m thrilled I have the opportunity to work on this project in the city I live in, in the city I work in. It’s comforting,” Hillman said.