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STYLE & CULTURE

Inner-city kids' art is worth a look

October 19, 2003|Ann Conway | Times Staff Writer

Serenaded by mariachis, supporters of Theatre of Hearts/Youth First streamed into the Consulate General of Mexico to preview the artwork of at-risk children from Los Angeles and Oaxaca. Sipping icy Coronas and sampling taco and ceviche appetizers, more than 300 guests cruised the photographs, mono-prints, ceramics, oils and acrylics -- some for sale, others part of the nonprofit organization's permanent collection. "I have my eye on buying a couple of them," volunteer Steve Flores, a Realtor, said as he gazed pridefully at the colorful exhibit. "I love supporting an organization that brings troubled kids together and helps them turn negative emotions into something positive."

The organization seeks to empower inner-city students ages 8 to 17 by offering arts education at schools and various sites within the community. "Most children who have problems are right-brained; they need a place to put that energy," said show curator Yvonne Kelly. "This multidisciplinary program gives them that chance."

Capping the Oct. 9 festivities was an awards program honoring actress Lisa Gay Hamilton, Councilwoman Jan Perry author Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, painter/muralist Maestro Raul Anguiano, educator Darline Robles and businesswoman Sandra J. Evers-Manly for their inspirational community leadership.

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