This past weekend, Chicago public transportation riders got to experience the world’s largest mobile art exhibition. As part of the Art on Track festival, a train car flourishing with with indigenous vegetation welcomed passengers aboard. Featuring seats, windows and floors completely covered with greenery, the Mobile Garden Car ran for 5 hours around Chicago’s downtown Loop, along with art by 50 other artists.
The Mobile Garden’s portion of Art on Track invited passengers to walk on a thick carpet of green grass, which greeted them at the train car entrance. Each plastic seat was also lined with the lush grass, giving the sensation of sitting on a grassy knoll, rather than commuting around downtown Chicago. Potted local plants rested on seats, on window sills, and on the floor, adding splashes of pinks, purples and reds with their small blossoms. Hanging plants dangled strands of leaves, flowers and berries all along the ceiling. Ivy-like plants also snaked around the poles and rails.
Indigenous plants and sod were donated to The Mobile Garden, which is a project run by non-profit, noisivelvet. Plants and materials were generously donated to outfit the project by local sod farms, green roof gardens, and arboretums. Members of the Chicago art community rode the train to discuss the exhibition with passengers.
Noisivelvet’s initial proposal for Chicago’s Transit System was an open-air flat bed garden, which would be pulled behind the L line for one month. They hope that the positive feedback on this past weekend’s Mobile Garden will help make this a reality.