Tuesday, June 28, 2022
Art Gallery Values Community and Youth
By Jean Perry, Contributing Writer
Published July 13, 2017

(Left-to-Right): Sarah Walton Burrell, moderator, Gail Willis, president, South L.A. Planning Commission, Walter Smith, entrepreneur , Smith Products Co. Elise Perkins, service coordinator, West Side Regional Center, Djibril Drame, artist, Sandra Zebi, artist, Dr. Adrienne Foster, Ph.D. director, Learn Program, West L.A. College. Courtesy Photo

Life skills advice in an art gallery? Yes!

“We want to build a relationship with teens and young adults,” said retired educator Sibyl Walton, co-founder of Artfully Spaced Gallery, 4401 West Slauson Avenue, in the Copies Plus Building.

In a recent Saturday panel titled “One Step Ahead”, adults shared knowledge with young people.


“What about going from high school to college?” asked moderator Sarah Walton-Burrell, a recent graduate of Pacific Palisades Charter High School. “So many people, so many diverse groups, and on top of that, a new course load. I admit I’m kind of scared.”

“Observe, listen, and don’t forget to speak up. Just as they are new and strange to you, you are new and different to them. But guess what! They want to hear from you. They want your viewpoint, your take on things. I found that out for myself. I was a kid from 88th Street,” said Walter Smith, of Smith Products Company, “around all these kids from higher income areas. But I took my stand and they respected that.”

“What about building finances?” Walton-Burrell wondered.

“Set a budget,” said president of South L.A. Planning Commission Gail Willis. “Save money on a monthly basis.” Ms. Willis is also special assistant to insurance commissioner Dave Jones.

“Suppose you start off in one area and want to switch to another?”

“I went from graffiti to photography,” said visual artist Djibril Drame, from Senegal.


“Be sure to love what you do,” said artist Sandra Zebi, who works in ceramics, sculpture and murals.

“How important is networking?” Walton-Burell scanned her list of questions from friends and classmates.

“Join a sorority or fraternity,” said Dr. Adrienne Foster, Ph.D director of the Learn Program at West L.A. College. “Do community service. College enabled me to be the person I didn’t know I was,” Dr. Foster answered.

“And your style, your look?” Walton Burrell continued.

“The reality is your presentation of yourself and your work is important, but so is persistence,” offered Elsie Perkins, service coordinator for the West Side Regional Center.

Besides showcasing artists, the Student Career Bridge Program, the gallery’s non-profit arm, offers life preparedness information and community service hours to high school juniors and seniors.

Categories: Crenshaw & Around | Local
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