Photo credit: Eden Pontz / Discovery TravelingMom

Photo credit: Eden Pontz / Discovery TravelingMom

Art lovers enjoying New York City may find visits to museums like MOMA or The Frick to be expensive if you’re not a member. But there is plenty of wonderful art to be found underground for only the price of a subway swipe—as part of the MTA’s Arts for Transit and Urban Design program. And their free app and motto, “Our entire art collection in the palm of your hand!” allows riders to learn on the move.

The MTA’s Arts for Transit program was launched in the 1980s along with a “massive rehabilitation program,” established to update the “century-old” transportation network, according to the MTA. Today, as you travel, you may see fine, urban and pop art, read poetry, and hear music in the stations and subway cars themselves, as well as on rail lines, as part of the program.

The Mix Down Under

Photo credit: Eden Pontz / Discovery TravelingMom

Photo credit: Eden Pontz / Discovery TravelingMom

From mosaics, to “Lightbox” photography, murals, posters, ceramics and sculptures in bronze, glass and other mixed-media, there is plenty to see, and even more to learn about what you’re seeing if you log onto the app. The app lets users search by artist or line, allows them to listen to comprehensive podcasts (at times from the artists themselves), and get directions to different installations.  It’s an instant “art docent” for the urban art junky, and there’s plenty of interesting pieces for your kids.

Posters are often displayed in unused ad space (and available for sale at the New York Transit Museum stores-with proceeds going back into the museums).

The MTA first posted an excerpt from Walt Whitman’s “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry,” back in 1992, and since then, it’s Poetry in Motion program has posted more than 200 different poems or excerpts from poems. It’s a great way to zen while in the often crowded subway cars.

Photo credit: Eden Pontz / Discovery TravelingMom

Photo credit: Eden Pontz / Discovery TravelingMom

Even though the 2nd Avenue Subway line hasn’t been finished yet, the MTA has already lined up a number of artists who will be contributing. With art that’s meant to appeal to those who use the public transport, there’s no excuse for letting the kids stand around counting rats on the tracks any longer! Each outing is a potential visit to a museum on the move.