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VALLEY ROUNDUP | Lake View Terrace

Sculpture Created for Treatment Center

August 25, 2000|STEPHANIE STASSEL

Giving up their free time and sometimes their lunch period, 15 young people at a residential drug and alcohol treatment center helped create a water sculpture that was unveiled Thursday at Phoenix House.

"Harmony Water Sculpture," created from three masonry basins reminiscent of shells, was installed outside in a grassy area where visitors, staff and the treatment center's 150 residents, ages 12 to 18, go to relax and reflect.

The sculpture, designed by Joel Mueller, took four months to complete, with residents working on it three days a week, said spokeswoman Mary Kaye Gerski. The project, funded by the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and the California Arts Council, was sponsored by the L.A. Theatre Works' Arts & Children Project.

"We're eternally grateful to [the donors and sponsors]," Gerski said. "It's something these kids will never forget as they move on, and it's something that will be left when other kids come here."

To prepare the young people, Mueller, a professional artist, spoke to them about water history in the Southwest, hydrology and the importance of water in people's lives.

"The kids immediately took to this project," said Mueller in a written statement. "The artistic concepts of creating a water sculpture fascinated them."

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