When the “End of Line” is the beginning

“End of Line” sounds like something you’d expect to hear from a train operator once you’ve reached the final destination, but, in this case, it symbolizes a beginning. For the thousands who have ridden RTD’s EFR Line into Lone Tree and have stopped to wonder about the artwork towering over the plaza, these words take on a whole new meaning. 

“End of Line” is the name of the art piece at the RidgeGate Parkway Station by artist Erik Carlson, which is at the beginning of the EFR Line. The light rail line was extended to RidgeGate in  2019 and includes three new stations and artwork by three artists, including Carlson. This station, like its siblings, sits in an open area within a community on the path toward development and growth. This artwork tells a story of the past, the more recent past, and, and most importantly, it stands at the beginning of what is to come for the Lone Tree community. 

As part of building new stations, RTD works to add artwork and create a connection with the surrounding community whenever possible through artwork. This means that any funds remaining after construction is completed, may go toward art. Carlson and his team were selected from over 300 proposals by an art selection committee which included members of Lone Tree’s Art Committee, RTD Board of Directors and local arts administrators and artists. 

Looking at “End of Line,” you may notice some familiar and not-so-familiar symbols or letters, arranged in a curious pattern. This was all done with purpose, through extensive research and its meaning is more than what meets the eye.

“Three of the icons in the artwork’s upper rows are in fact real cattle brands used by historic local ranches,” says Carlson. “The idea is that as a viewer scans across the artwork, the icons in its grid recombine elements from these two local coding systems. Moving right to left and top to bottom, the livestock brands of Lone Tree’s heritage gradually meld with the computer coding language of its present.”

The artwork’s name was also purposeful. In describing his vision, Carlson says, “We were also interested in capturing the idea that the 'end of a line' is also a beginning: the place where the train turns around and begins a completely new journey in the opposite direction. This is after all the place where all those local people take the train to work begin, rather than end, their day.”

Erik Carlson and his team at AREA C projects have recently won a Codaworx Top 100 Projects Award for 2020, recognizing the best commissioned artwork from around the world. They are also in the running for the 2020 People’s Choice Award, which is given to artwork receiving the most votes from the community at large.

We are proud to have been able to bring Erik and AREA C projects onboard and to be able to enjoy their vision. “End of Line” has brought beauty, light and color to this station, especially at night when it is illuminated, and stands as a proud symbol of what is yet to come.