The terraced garden of the historic Wattles mansion above Hollywood Boulevard was the setting for last weekend's benefit for the HeArt Project. More than 200 supporters turned out for the cocktail buffet and silent auction to support free workshops conducted by professional artists for teenagers enrolled in 10 continuation high schools.
Cynthia Campoy Brophy, HeArt's founder and executive director, noted that this has been a banner year for the project that she launched in 1992 at one school in downtown L.A. In January, the programs were doubled to reach twice as many teenagers and moved from a small office in Hollywood to a storefront location with exhibition space in the USC neighborhood, where the students can collaborate on projects with the university.
Two high school seniors enrolled in the project told of their experiences. "Our minds have been opened to things we thought we could never do," said 19-year-old Dangela Grussi, who says she now plans to become an architect. "The project got me off the streets," said Jose Delgado, 20, who is studying film at USC this summer and will enter East L.A. Community College in the fall. "When I tell my friends about HeArt, they say it's a waste of time. But not for me. It's opened a lot of doors."
The occasion also honored two longtime benefactors, Brophy's mother, Sue Campoy, and Margaret Steele, who has served on the HeArt Board for nine years.