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CITY ARTS : A Collection of Memories

Samella Sanders Lewis--one of the most prominent African American art historians--describes her pieces as memories collected in the form of art.

Now those works, as well as items from 30 other master artists, will be displayed through an exhibit, “The Samella Lewis Collection--Fifty Years,” at the Third World Art Exchange in Los Feliz.

The African American-themed works are by such artists as Richard Barthe, Romare Bearden, John Biggers, Elizabeth Catlett, Sam Gilliam, David Hammons, Palmer Hayden, Jacob Lawrence and Charles White, among others.

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Lewis, 71, who founded the Los Angeles Museum of African American Art, became a serious art collector in the early 1940s while a student at Dillard University in New Orleans. Under the tutelage of Catlett and White, she began collecting and exchanging art with other African American artists.

“Art is a language like poetry, evoking sensitivities and memories,” says Lewis, author of “Art: African American,” a textbook used in many colleges across the country. “Art really helps to speak to the past, present and to a large extent helps to guide you into the future.”

“The Samella Lewis Collection--Fifty Years” runs though June 7. The Third World Art Exchange is at 2016 N. Hillhurst Ave. Gallery hours are Wednesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. Information: (213) 666-9357 or (800) 879-3760.

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