This project is the result of a collaboration between the City of Providence and RISD with the goal of providing new public art as part of the Our Town NEA grant that the city won in 2012. I was awarded funding from that grant to realize a design that I had proposed for the former streetcar tunnel adjacent to Kennedy Plaza (and underneath the yellow brick building of the former Central Station). In addition to creating the design, I also collaborated with city officials, school officials, fabricators, and contractors.
The project itself is a web-like recreation of the city's former streetcar system map. No comprehensive map of the old system exists, so I photographed the plat maps from 1908 in the city archives and digitally combined them to obtain a visual representation of the old routes. This map was then fabricated out of steel and is now suspended from the ceiling of the tunnel. Cables also run from one end of the tunnel to the next and reference the old overhead catenaries that used to power the streetcars. These cables terminate with miniature counterweights that reference those that actually kept the cables in tension in the old streetcar system.
Lastly, a progression of phrases by H.P. Lovecraft (himself from Providence) regarding street cars is painted on the tunnel's i-beams and provides an additional narrative element as one moves through the tunnel. A fresh coat of a new, blue paint was applied prior to the stenciling of the text itself.