Arts Day Speaks Universal Language

The Irvine Fine Arts Center has chosen the theme "Art Joins Hands and Hearts" for its 1995 Youth Arts Day from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. But judging from the entertainment lineup, families should be prepared to keep their arms, legs and feet occupied as well.

Headlining the event at different sites around the center are Latin jazz band Ocho-X and Djo-Gbe (pronounced jo- bay ), a group of African artists who invite listeners to join the music making and help them dress the part as well.

Led by Lazare Houetin, born in the West Africa nation of Benin, Djo-Gbe will present 45-minute sessions at 12:30 and 2:30 p.m. Visitors can don traditional African clothing and accompany the musicians on rhythm instruments.

At noon and 2 p.m., Ocho-X will perform its specialty as well as salsa tunes.

At 1:30 and 3:30 p.m., puppeteer Penelope Torribio will perform an original show designed to help youngsters understand the plight of rain-forest animals.

Throughout the afternoon, eight different drop-in art workshops will be offered, including Native American sand painting, Japanese windsocks and Mexican amati (or, bark painting).

All sessions take place in IFAC studios under the direction of professional artists and teachers.

Geared toward children 3 to 10, "Art Joins Hands and Hearts" is presented in conjunction with the gallery's current exhibit, "Teaching Tolerance," which uses artwork by children and adults to explore the value of diversity and understanding.

Admission is $3 per child; accompanying adults are admitted free. Workshop registration begins at 11:30 a.m.

* What: Youth Arts Day '95, at the Irvine Fine Arts Center.

* When: Saturday, March 25, from noon to 4 p.m.

* Where: Irvine Fine Arts Center, 14321 Yale Ave., and portions of Heritage Park adjacent to the gallery.

* Whereabouts: From the Santa Ana (5) Freeway, exit at Culver and drive south. Turn left on Walnut, left on Yale and make an immediate left into the parking lot. Parking is free.

* Wherewithal: $3 for children; free for accompanying adults.

* Where to call: (714) 724-6880.

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