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Design Critic Credited for Gaining Getty Aid

May 08, 1988

The recent announcement by the J. Paul Getty Trust of its new program for architectural conservation was, in my view, the latest example of the long tradition of community leadership exercised by the Los Angeles Times. That leadership and its role in this instance is deeply appreciated by all of us committed to the preservation of the city's masterpieces of architecture.

The Getty Trust has repeatedly demonstrated concern for the community and a determination to use its wealth in a constructive way.

Still, it seems very unlikely that it would have chosen to create this new architectural conservation program had it not been for the campaign waged by the Times' outstanding urban design critic, Sam Hall Kaplan.

Kaplan has repeatedly reminded his readers that architecture is the most public and accessible form of art, and so should not be excluded from the art conservation programs funded by the Getty Trust.

Many of his columns reported the demise of significant landmark buildings and historic sites, a far greater blow to the fabric and character of the community than the loss of any painting from the walls of a museum. Kaplan and The Times effectively acted as the conscience of the community, surely the highest aim of journalism.

JAY ROUNDS

Los Angeles

Rounds is executive director of the Los Angeles Conservancy.

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