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Public Art Display Links Students at 2 Schools

November 14, 1998|HOLLY EDWARDS

Jagdeep Singh rolled his wheelchair to a chain-link fence bordering Miller High School and carefully fastened hand-lettered, multicolored tags spelling his favorite expression: "Peace for all countries."

"I want to tell everyone we should have peace in the world and stop fighting," the 18-year-old student said.

Singh was one of more than 200 students who spent Friday afternoon putting the finishing touches on "Words on Wires," a public art project that joined over 150 disabled students from Miller High School with approximately 100 of their peers at nearby Cleveland High School.

Students used 6,000 colored, hand-painted pet tags and attached them to the Roscoe Boulevard fence to say whatever they wanted.

"Some were silly, some were serious, we just had a lot of fun doing it," said Miller High School teacher Linda Ditomaso.

"I'm crazy for chocolate," was 18-year-old Miller High student Michelle Labobitz's message of self-expression.

"I'm a chocoholic," Labobitz explained. "I'm addicted."

Funded with a $5,400 grant from the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department, the project was the brainchild of artist Elizabeth Criss. Criss, who has a disabled daughter, said she hopes the public art display will form a link between the students at Miller High School and the 40,000 people that drive by the school daily.

"The handicapped can sometimes feel very isolated," Criss said. "I hope this art work will give the kids a sense of connection to the world, and will make strangers stop and take a look. You have to approach the fence the same way you approach people with handicaps. You just have to slow down and adjust your perspective."

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