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Central Los Angeles

Former Jail Is Host to Multimedia Show About Violence

May 04, 1996

A model of an electric chair sits in a cell at the historic Lincoln Heights jail, painted with peach-colored flowers. To the former gang member who created the unusual work of art, it stands as a symbol of hope.

Behind the bars of another cell stands a mobile of toy guns, action figures and handcuffs above an oversized baby crib. Violence-laced nursery rhymes are painted on the walls. Lorraine Cleary, an art teacher at a Pasadena school who designed it, said the scene is meant to provoke thoughts of how violence can be ingrained during childhood.

And in yet another cell, a steel cage encases a white bed. Katherine Gettys, a doctor who resides in Glassell Park, said her roommate had been raped in bed two years ago and the project represents how people must constantly protect themselves against crime.

The three displays are part of the "Without Alarm: Public and Private Security" community show at the former city jail, a multimedia exhibit that has attracted the works of more than 80 artists--mostly South-Central residents looking for an avenue to express themselves.

More than 1,000 people have visited the exhibit during the past two weekends. The event will be open from noon to 5 p.m. today and Sunday, the last day.

"It's not just a static art exhibit," said Vibiana Aparecio Chamberlain, 50, a teacher at El Sereno Middle School. "It's an opportunity for people to participate and learn."

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