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Jamaica Plain artist sketches MBTA stops, explores city

Posted by Catherine Cloutier  May 29, 2013 09:40 AM

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Laura Meilman

Jamaica Plain resident Laura Meilman found art in her daily commute.

The 24-year-old artist launched "Project T-scapes," her plan to visit and draw each of the MBTA's T stations, in January.

"One of the things I would love to do is travel and make artwork inspired by where I travel," said Meilman. "I thought I would start locally."

Meilman moved to Boston about a year and a half ago, after studying painting at Earlham College in Indiana. Three months and 30 drawings into the project, she said it has been an unique way to explore her adopted home.

"I went to the Southern end of the Red Line," said Meilman. "It goes through the Neponset River, which is really beautiful. I didn't know we had wilderness like that so T accessible."

So far, Meilman has drawn the Red Line and a portion of the Green Line. She plans to end the project with the Orange Line, which is the line on which she commutes.

Meilman said the project has given her a chance to talk with people from around the city.

During a recent trip to the Ashmont Station, a man approached Meilman, questioned what she was doing, and proceeded to pull out his cell phone and share his photographs and drawings of the station.

On her way to the Mattapan Station, Meilman struck up conversation with a conductor, who informed her that the line was once featured on "Ripley's Believe It or Not" because it runs through a graveyard.

"I think everyone in Boston has experience with the T," said Meilman. "It really connects us."

Meilman spends about a half an hour at each MBTA station, often sketching the lines of her drawings at each location and filling in the color once she has moved to a nearby coffee shop.

The sketches are drawn in artist pens, or markers, which Meilman said are "transportable and very colorful, both very important for executing this project."

Once completed, the project may be exhibited or collected into a book, she said.

The final product will showcase both the landscape and character of the city, Meilman said.

"[It's about showing] the different stops along the road," she said.

Meilman's drawings are currently being displayed on her "Project T-scapes" Tumblr page.

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