Regional Connector artist seeks your memories of riding the Pacific Electric streetcars

Detail of Metro-commissioned artist Mark Steven Greenfield’s glass mosaic artwork, “Red Car Requiem,” created for the future Historic Broadway Station

Inspired by his childhood memories of Southern California’s former transit system, Metro-commissioned artist Mark Steven Greenfield has created a site-specific artwork for the Regional Connector Transit Project that pays homage to the Pacific Electric Railway streetcar. Fondly known as the Red Car, the streetcars were popular and ubiquitous across Southern California from the early 1900s until the early ’60s.

Pacific Electric Railway streetcar No. 437 on the San Pedro line, northbound on the West Basin detour, September 17, 1955. Photo: Alan Weeks

 

Pacific Electric Railway streetcar No. 5120 on the Santa Monica Air Line at Jefferson Street and Main Street, September 24, 1953. Photo: Alan Weeks

Greenfield’s abstract composition, titled Red Car Requiem, translates the streetcars’ colors and energy — and even conductors ticket punch marks — to a vibrant mosaic mural for the Historic Broadway Station at Broadway and 2nd in DTLA. The artwork is emblematic of his memories — and now he wants to hear yours. 

In collaboration with his alma mater, California State University, Los Angeles, Mark Steven Greenfield is seeking the stories held by the last generation of Red Car riders. The general public is welcome to participate.  

Find a link to his survey hereThe deadline to respond is 5 p.m. on February 1, 2021.  

Responses may inspire a virtual story-sharing conversation with the artist and will be archived in the LA Metro Dorothy Peyton Gray Transportation Library and Archive. The stories shared through the survey will be available to the public, Metro staff, urban planners, community organizers and historians now and in the future 

 

Mark Steven Greenfield in his studio with designs for his Metro-commissioned project, Red Car Requiem. Courtesy of McColl Center for Art + Innovation

 

Detail of Red Car Requiem original design

3 replies

    • Hi Just a Person,

      Lack of resources to do it because of financial impact of pandemic. Plenty of info on the project remains available on project’s social media feeds and the project website.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  1. Great abstract. It just looks like blobs of orange, red and yellow. It does not really represent anything that people will recognize. People will just walk by it and have no idea what it is or means. Too bad something more realistic was not thought of where people would stop and admire it.