Graphic Arts | Sculpture and Models | Literature | Film

The "L" is such a strong and pervasive image and presence in Chicago that it should be no surprise that it has entered many aspects of popular culture and media. Many fictional stories and books have been written that use the "L" as either a backdrop or even a major component of the narrative. The system has been featured as a subject of many paintings, drawings and illustrations. The elevated has even made is presence felt in sculpture and, of course, the ever-present scale models that are so popular with many railfans. And let us not forget the numerous films and television programs that have used Chicago's rapid transit as a setting, a background, or just as an identifier to give the unmistakable message, "this is Chicago!"

Graphic Arts

Station Artwork

Our guide to the permanent artwork installations at CTA rail stations. First installed in 1974, permanent art installations have become a part of most CTA rail station capital improvement projects. Artworks were installed in all rebuilt Douglas branch stations, and will be included in the renovated Dan Ryan and Brown Line stations, as well as individual station projects.

For artwork installed since 2005, as well as additional information and photos of the artwork presented here, visit the Public Art section on the CTA's website.

Sculpture and Models

Cows on Parade

Cows On Parade was an exhibit of nearly 300 life-sized fiberglass cows which artists transformed into works of art. The public art exhibition was presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. The Chicago Transit Authority commissioned two cows to be made to represent the "L".



An "L" Story

By Robin L. Oye
The "L" is the "ground bass in a trio sonata" and the central supporting character in a story about young love and growing up in late sixties and early seventies Chicago. Surprising the places the "L" can take you! 

A Chicago Christmas Story

By Robin L. Oye
A Christmas Eve in the mid-seventies takes a surprising turn for an "L" crew.

All stories posted here are the property of their respective authors. Chicago-L.org takes no responsibility for their content.