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Patrons Raise the Roof Over LACMA Redesign

January 30, 2002

I applaud Marc Haefele's "LACMA's $300-Million Roof" (Opinion, Jan. 27). When we moved to Los Angeles in 1967 the museum was very new. It was a grand structure, and it still is. The concept of spending all those millions of dollars for a new roof to house the old art collections is ludicrous and wasteful. His idea of using the money for cultural programs for our schools is outstanding. As an art teacher, I have seen the lack of art education as a sad situation. What a worthwhile and exciting use of funds it would be to bring the arts--and new schools as well--back to our young people.

Doris Spivack

Los Angeles

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Haefele's criticism of the proposed building for LACMA is unjustified. Over 30,000 schoolchildren, grades one through 12, tour LACMA's art collection each year. The new building will not only display more of LACMA's vast collection of art to these students but will radically change the way the art is displayed. The innovative LACMA galleries will allow students to easily see exciting cross-cultural comparisons of art from around the world and over time. Haefele's proposed alternative expenditure of funds on "same-old" art education will have far less impact on the children of L.A.

Sheldon Welles

Pacific Palisades

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Bravo to Haefele for speaking out against LACMA's plans to redesign its Wilshire Boulevard campus. Those in the elite who have decided to destroy the 16-year-old Robert O. Anderson Building, along with other museum structures, and replace them with a circus tent have lost all sight of their place in the scheme of local government. The museum is called the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. It is on county-owned land and run with county taxpayer money. To destroy relatively new buildings, while other county facilities such as the hospital, health facilities and courts decay, is a disgrace.

Haefele's points on arts education are well taken. Who will visit the great tent if there is no future generation that has an appreciation for art? It appears the donors wish to create this cultural icon for their own enjoyment. And, to the rest of us: Let them eat cake.

Mark Elinson

Los Angeles

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