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Expanding on an Arts Center

July 08, 1985

For a lady who makes $73,600 a year, Donna Tuttle ("Donna Tuttle's Traveling Balancing Act," by Mary Lou Loper, June 10) seems to have forgotten to do her homework. I am surprised that Mrs. Tuttle doesn't know about the Watts Towers Art Center, which has been in existence since 1961, privately funded, and, since 1976, under the auspices of the City of Los Angeles. The Watts Towers Art Center is one of the most exciting cultural ambassadors of our city. It hosts at least 15 interns on a yearly basis for the Coro Foundation. And before the Olympic Games, it hosted a State Department-sponsored tour of visiting Russian scholars. The Dorothy Strelitz Children's Art Fund will give scholarships this summer to all of the children of the community who are unable to pay the newly imposed city fees for art lessons.

Mrs. Tuttle should get in touch with the art center's director, John Outterbridge. She would be amazed at what has been happening at the Watts Towers Art Center over the past few years. It is truly a gem and provides art instruction to over 6,400 children from both the Los Angeles Unified School District as well as the community of Watts. I do hope the other information that she has provided is more accurate than the information about the need for an art center at Watts Towers.

MARJORIE L. SCHWARTZ

Los Angeles

Mary Lou Loper explains that the idea of developing a major cultural complex at the Watts Towers has been under consideration for years, according to Outterbridge. It was that expansion to which Mrs. Tuttle referred. In mid-June, urban planners, architects and community leaders met at USC and discussed such a plan at the International Forum for the Future for Sam Rodia's Towers in Watts. Michael Pittas, dean of Otis/Parsons Art Institute, heads the Watts Towers Community Trust, which is interested in the complex. The current center, with a gallery, four studios and a gift shop, provides art classes and has an annual budget of about $70,000.

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