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VALLEY ROUNDUP | Canoga Park

Arts Center Honors Past and Future

October 05, 2000|GRACE E. JANG

In an effort to both salvage a historical landmark and create an outlet for artistic expression, the city of Los Angeles converted a dilapidated 71-year-old building on Remmet Avenue into a youth arts center.

The $950,000 center, which will officially open with a 10 a.m. ceremony today, was funded with Proposition K recreation and parks money. It will offer a variety of classes, including drawing, pottery, theater and photography.

"This is a win-win," said City Councilwoman Laura Chick, who spearheaded the project. "We've taken a building that has history in the community and brought it back to its former days. With the arts facility, we're bringing an opportunity to children who don't have much of a chance to participate in arts outside of school or even in school."

The site, formerly owned by Pacific Bell, was badly damaged by rain and earthquakes. The building had to be stripped to its beams and gutted, officials said.

"The ceiling was rotted from the rain and there were potholes in the floor," said Craig Bullock, a member of Chick's staff, who oversaw the center's development. "A real blight in the community."

It has been rebuilt to maintain its original Spanish mission style on the outside, but inside, the building is anything but traditional.

The walls don't meet the ceiling, silver wires span the width of the main room, and almost everything is salmon-colored--except the floor's green and black tile pattern, which appears slightly uneven--"to make the room seem bigger," Bullock said.

Hoi Van Luc of the city's engineering department was the architect for the project, which was completed within budget and on schedule, Chick said.

"We've had a lot of support from the community, with early offers of donated time and material," she said.

The center, at 7222 Remmet Ave., will serve children 5 to 17 in the west San Fernando Valley. Classes are free until June, after which enrollment costs $1.15 per child per class.

For more information, call (818) 756-8848.

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