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In The Eyes of a Passenger on SEPTA

Jerri Williams
SEPTA Director of Media Relations

Award-winning artist Chad Cortez Everett can still recall the first time he saw the woman who would become his wife. It was 1994 and he was on his way home after a day of creating and learning at Temple University's Tyler School of Art.

Back then, before the school was relocated closer to the main campus, Everett would board the Route 36 trolley from his home in southwest Philadelphia, transfer to the Broad Street Line subway and then take the C bus to complete his ride to the former Elkins Park campus. At the end of the day, he would make the trip in reverse. That particular afternoon was just like any other - until he spotted her. He was standing on the subway platform of the Broad Street Line's Olney Station, with one hand steadying the backpack full of books and art supplies slung over his shoulder and the other toting his portfolio case. He nodded his head and smiled. She smiled back. He followed her onto the train car and took a seat nearby.

He thought she was a Temple student and when he asked if she was, he was impressed to learn she had just graduated pre-med from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and was back in her hometown to attend Jefferson University Medical College. He thought to himself, "Wow - beautiful and smart!"

Her name was Linda. She got off a few stops later at Hunting Park Station. But before she left the train, he wrote down his telephone number and gave it to her. "She called two days later," said Everett, "and the rest is history."

That "history" consists of seven years of dating, 13 years of marriage and an almost two-year-old baby girl they named Autumn.

When Everett, an artist and full-time teacher, recently began working on an art series featuring his daughter, he wanted to incorporate SEPTA as a subtle reference to the role the transit system played in the foundation of his family. He asked family members and friends to save their used TransPasses. His idea was to apply the TransPasses, along with bus schedules and timetables, as the background of the black and white images of Autumn. "I wasn't able to collect as many as I needed," said Everett. "So I called SEPTA, told their public affairs people what I working on and asked if I could have the expired passes they usually destroyed. Not only did they say yes, but I received enough to complete more than a dozen pieces."

Everett titled his series, In the Eyes of a Passenger on SEPTA. As a thank you to SEPTA, 10 of the original auto-biographical collages are part of a private solo-art exhibit on display at the Authority's headquarters. The collages completed with the recycled materials provided by SEPTA and the photos of his daughter are thought-provoking but gentle pieces. SEPTA employees who have had the pleasure of viewing the exhibit appreciate Everett's artistic use of the passes and schedules they know so well.

About the Artist: Chad Cortez Everett was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA. He attended Temple University, Tyler School of Art where he earned a Bachelor's of Fine Arts in Painting and certification in Art Education. Chad also, attended the Hoffeberger School of Painting at Maryland Institute, College of Art (MICA). He believes in the power of art to heal and transform. Chad's goal is not only to sell his art, but to take art curriculum into schools and recreation centers and use his art work and education to tackle bullying among students.

To learn more about the artist and his work visit:

Chad Cortez Everett.

Everett's artwork on display at SEPTA headquarters.

Everett's daughter, Autumn, is featured in his work.

Display at SEPTA Headquarters.