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WATTS : 1st County Museum Exhibit for Towers


Like a budding art critic, 8-year-old Dominique Harris studied Jacob Lawrence's work and quickly put her finger on exactly what appealed to her.

"He knows how to do it good," Dominique said, referring to a collection of Lawrence's silk-screens on exhibit at the Watts Towers Art Center. "It ain't boring and I like the way he has people moving."

Dominique, a second-grader at 102nd Street Elementary School, was among a group of about 200 students from four South-Central schools who met Lawrence when the famed 76-year-old painter visited the art center this month.

The center's exhibit includes "Eight Studies from the Book of Genesis," a collection that was severely damaged while in storage in a bank vault during last year's riots, said Alitash Kebede, a private art dealer who helped restore the silk-screen prints.

Lawrence, whose series of narrative paintings is on exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art through July 26, said he hoped his visit would encourage aspiring artists: "I would like to be able to motivate them. I would like for those of them who have a feeling for color and design to get a feeling for art."

The exhibit, on display at the Watts Towers Art Center through July 2, marks the first time that the county museum has hosted a function at the art center, said Howard Fox, the museum's curator of contemporary art.

"We all realize Los Angeles is an extremely diverse place," Fox said. "The reason we're out here is to give something to the local community."

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