Artist Simon Toparovsky Reveals Dedication to ALA's Founder Janet Witkin

Monday, October 21, Los Angeles

Board members and special guests got a rare opportunity to preview world-renowned artist Simon Toparovsky's dedication to ALA's founder at a private event in the artist's home on Saturday evening.

Simon Toparovsky, best known in Los Angeles as the sculptor who created life-sized, main altar crucifix at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, is designing a tribute to ALA founder Janet L. Witkin in the form of a stone pedestal portrait bust will connect visitors to centuries of tradition honoring important public figures. The elegant stone column will be inscribed with her own words, which call on us to recognize our responsibility to share and make communities for our elders, and so honor her life's work.

"I wanted to create something that truly captured her intensity, her generosity and her intelligence," Toparovsky stated as he invited onlookers to preview his work in progress.

Toparovsky's sculpture will be permanently installed at the award winning Janet L. Witkin Center, currently under construction at 937 N. Fairfax in West Hollywood.  The Center will help low-income and formerly homeless seniors age in place while enriching the local community by providing a socially and environmentally sustainable living environment.   

ALA had operated out of a residence on the site since the late 1980s, but the home, which was the focal point of the agency’s advocacy for so many years, was razed in February to benefit more seniors.

At a Groundbreaking event earlier this year, West Hollywood City Councilwoman Abbe Land said seniors need housing that is supportive, creates community, offers respect and retains the dignity of its tenants. “That’s what this project will do,” she said. “And how incredibly marvelous that it will be for seniors who have lost of all of those things."

The legacy project started at the end of 2009, months after Witkin died of breast cancer at the age of 62. The facility, expected to open in early 2014, will also offer new programming opportunities for tenants and other ALA residents. Offices on site will provide mental health services for previously homeless residents, and community areas will be utilized for classes, social programs and special events.

“We’re going to live up to Janet’s high expectations,” Grunwald said of the Center and Toparovsky’s dedication in her honor.

For more information about sponsorship and naming opportunities at the Janet L. Witkin Center, please contact Christy Moody at 323.650.8183.

Artist Simon Toparovsky and ALA President David Grunwald address guests at a private event in the artist’s home on Saturday night