The story behind the stations

Metro Transit and MPR create audio tours of Green Line public art

Green Line riders can access Sound Point audio tours through their smart phones. Credit: Bjorn Saterbak

If you’re a user of the Green Line, you can now experience a dimension of public art at new light-rail stations with Sound Point, an interactive audio tour offered by Metro Transit and Minnesota Public Radio.

MPR Sound Point Producer Jeff Jones said this partnership between Metro Transit and Green Line allows customers to learn about public art directly from artists.

“MPR knows how to tell stories with sounds, and now mobile devices let us share stories about a place with listeners who are standing right there,” Jones said in a statement Monday.

Each of the new 18 Green Line stations, from Union Depot station in Lowertown St. Paul to the West Bank station on the Minneapolis campus of the University of Minnesota, features a public art representative of its surrounding community. Riders can listen to the stories behind the artworks through first-person recorded interviews with the artists.

The interview recordings can be accessed by mobile devices via texting a short code or scanning a QR code printed on posters at each station. They are also available to listen to online through the Green Line station pages.

“There are millions of stories related to the neighborhoods served by Green Line,” said Metro Transit General Manager Brian Lamb.

Sound Point, however, has yet to catch on with some Green Line riders at the Nicollet Mall station.

Green Line rider Amelia Odens has not listened to the tour, but said it might be interesting to learn more about the places in the Twin Cities, including the history of University Avenue.

“It might be interesting to do it some afternoon,” Odens said. “I don’t think I would do it on my way to work, but it could be fun.”

Julie Hervas, who works in Downtown St. Paul, said she probably would not use it because she’s familiar with the Twin Cities area, but said it is a good idea.

In addition to Sound Point, posters at each station have photos and descriptions of the surrounding neighborhood. The content was developed in collaboration with neighborhood groups from each station area to provide riders with additional history and information about communities.

Metro Transit and MPR previously collaborated on a Sound Point tour of the Northstar commuter rail line that runs from Target Field to Big Lake, Minnesota. Other Sound Point locations in Minnesota include the Enger Tower in Duluth and public art and murals in Minneapolis.

Click here to listen to an audio tour of public art on the West Bank narrated by artist Nancy Blum.