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"Revisit the Red Car"  Mural
In the 1950’s, the Pacific Electric Red Car’s Glendale/Burbank line ceased operating between downtown Los
Angeles and Glendale. Six concrete pillars that supported the car’s passage over the Los Angeles River are all that
remain.  Passersby since then have wondered what purpose the massive pillars once served.  With today’s
dedication of “Reclaim, Respect, Revisit”, a vibrant mural celebrates the Red Car and perhaps creates a source of
hope for our neighborhood, the river and the cause of mass transit in Los Angeles.

The mural was created in October by artist lead
Rafael Escamilla, together with contributing artists Tom Hinds
&
Roxanne Salazar.  The 30 foot by 40 foot mural was commissioned by Friends of Atwater Village (FAV) and
funded with City of Los Angeles’ Board of Public Works Community Beautification Grant, as well as private
donations raised in
September 2004 at the LA River Center.

The Red Car crossed over the river at this location from Silver Lake and into Atwater Village on its way to
Glendale.  FAV created the mural in hopes of reclaiming a previously blighted and neglected area on the bank of
the LA River for local residents.  FAV's overall goal is to increase safety and access for residents seeking
recreation and a connection to the river.  The effort builds on a small pocket park installed by Northeast Trees on
the Southeast side of the Hyperion Bridge at the LA River.
About the Artists

Rafael Escamilla - Lead Artist
“My creative work comes from a conscious effort to communicate with the
viewer.  This consciousness inspires to investigate realties that I commit
myself to exploring as objectively as possible. One consistent theme that
emerges from my work stems from my personal research.  I find that I
struggle enthusiastically with hope as a vision for a more just and humane
society”.

Rafael Escamilla was born in La Libertad, El Salvador.  He began studies in
architectural drawing at the National University in San Salvador. IN the
early 1980’s, Escamilla fled to Oaxaca, Mexico, due to the Salvadoran
Civil War and its dire economic consequences.
As he sought refuge first in Guatemala and then in southern Mexico, Escamilla appreciated intuitively and internalized enthusiastically
the new landscapes, colors, and indigenous artistic traditions over several years. The tropical colors of his homeland still live within
him.  By the mid-1980’s, he made his way to Los Angeles, where he was involved immediately in the Central American refugee
community.  

Visual memory becomes quite important as an element in his work. His artistic epiphanies in exile serve him well as his in a identifiably
unique style of painting, both in his murals, but especially in his canvases large and small. His work “Waiting for a Change”, (acrylic on
canvas, 1988) was selected for an exhibition during the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Korea.  His work has graced the covers of several
magazines.  “Claudia” (1987) appeared on the cover of America 2001 in 1987. “Statue of Liberty” (1987) came out on the cover of Los
Latinos in 1987. Several of his Los Angeles murals are outstanding works of art: “Peace, Friendship and Happiness in Our World” (1988
–1989) at Hobart Elementary School in Korea town, with its unforgettable multicultural images of actual school children, stood as the
backdrop of public discussions immediately following the 1992 Los Angeles riots, in public service announcements and in commercials
during this same time period.  
“Missions of California,”(2001) a two-hundred foot long mural located at the corner of Fletcher Street
and Larga Avenue in Atwater, tells the stories that inform the lives of older and younger people in the residential neighborhood. His
urban landscapes of Los Angeles include freeways as the veins of city life, and convey through organic forms modernity and a vibrantly
colorful vision of life.

Rafael Escamilla works with patrons to evoke their aesthetic concerns. Based on those conversations, Escamilla then looks into are
books and literature, where he formulates and experiments to develop visions for his very diverse clients’ approval, as he executes
murals and canvases for private homes and work places from Laguna Beach and Long Beach to Santa Monica and Beverly Hills.  
Escamilla co-founded Grupo de Artistas Salvadoreños in 1996 as a means of bringing together and exhibiting Salvadoran visual artists
in Los Angeles.  Many of Escamilla’s paintings are housed in private collections.  He has exhibited in the Museum of Latin American Art
(MOLA) in Long Beach, California, and in art galleries throughout Central America, Mexico, Russia, North America, and Europe.
Tom Hinds, Contributing Artist
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Tom is a working artist who has exhibited
photography, sculpture and painting.  He met Rafael Escamilla by accident:  Both
were next door neighbors in the early 1990s and have been helping one another
on projects ever since.  They are friends who work well together.Tom wishes there
were more community-based projects like this one to work on, and thanks the
activists who took on the bureaucracy to make this grant happen and result in this
very positive project.

Roxanne Salazar, Contributing Artist
Roxanne is a native Maya-Nahua-Pipil/Nahilobasquena.  She earned an Associate in
Liberal Arts and Baccalaureate in Acting/Directing.  While traveling through the
United States, she has witnessed the discrimination, misconceptions, and a great
variety of stereotypes towards the native American communities as well as other
varieties of culture communities at all levels.  As a multimedia artist she has
exposed Native Americans and other cultural social issues in a wide variety of art
mediums. However, she is the ambassador of her ancestors to educate and remind
everyone to work together to preserve history in the making at all levels.  The Red
Car Park Mural is the product of working as a whole and a great reward for the
community.  Roxanne’s creativity includes murals at educational sites, which she
has found to be food for her spirit and nurturing future artists.  She is a huge shield
to children.  She believes children are the teachers of COURAGE, GENEROSITY,
RESPECT AND WISDOM.  She is currently working on her new “Children of the
Corn” book.
Project Photo Gallery
The Making of the Mural
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Dedication Ceremony
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Special Thanks
L.A. City Council President Eric Garcetti
Atwater Village / Chevy Chase Teen Club
Clean & Green Crews
Darin Williams – Select Patrol
FAV Volunteers
Gerry Valido – Operation Clean Sweep
Heather Speight – LA County Dept. of Public Works
Hollywood Beautification Team
Joe Linton - FOLAR
Michael Espinoza – Community Beautification
Mitch O’Farrell – CD13 Deputy District Director
Norma Edith Garcia M.A. – Office of Supervisor Gloria Molina
Northeast Trees
Officer Colenzo – LAPD, PACE
Officer Gina Chovan – LAPD SLO
Ray Valentine – Maintaining Mother Earth
Sky City Productions – Christy Vasquez & Thom Ebhardt

All attendees and donors at our Revisit the Red Car fundraiser event on September 2004
Click here for more information about the Red Car River Park...
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