William, Catherine join painting class on L.A.'s skid row
Prince William and Catherine, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, were greeted with a collective "Hi!" from children in a painting class at the Inner-City Arts Center in downtown Los Angeles on Sunday.
William sat with three children, two girls and a boy, as he painted his own canvas. To his right sat Nikki Aguilar, 10, whom William greeted as soon as he sat at his canvas. He draped his smock over his slacks.
Kate sat with three children, two boys and a girl, her back to William. To her left sat 9-year-old Sebastian Lee, who escorted the couple into the classroom. She immediately put on her smock and sat down, asking Sebastian for instructions.
She stared at her blank canvas and turned to William and said, "William, do you know what you're doing? Start from the center." He took the direction and returned to his canvas.
After a few moments, he turned back to his wife and said, "Catherine, what are you supposed to do?" She laughed and instructed him again.
Catherine turned to a boy next to her and asked, "Have you ever tried ceramics?" He shook his head no. "That's fun too."
She asked the boy, "What is your favorite color?" He answered green. She turned around to check on William's progress and told the boy, "William is using his favorite color too." He was using blue to start off his painting.
By the end, she asked the boy, "Do you want to help me do mine?" He shook his head no and said, "It's your imagination." She said, "It's my imagination?" She laughed and added, "It's not a good imagination."
Before William left, he turned to a boy and asked, "How is this? You think it's any good?" The boy quickly said, "Yes."
When William asked Catherine about her painting, she said, "It's either a tortoise or a snail. I'm not sure."
The couple left and headed to the ceramics room.
At about 12:25 p.m., the couple entered a large performance room, where they were greeted with a hearty "Welcome!" from about 100 children seated on mats and some on folding chairs. Special guests seated in the back included Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and British Consul-General Dame Barbara Hay.
A group of teenagers dressed in black T-shirts and pants performed a medley of dances, including salsa and hip-hop. The music featured snippets of songs by Ozomatli, Santana and Michael Jackson.
The duke and duchess sat in their seats clapping along to the performance. The couple paid close attention, occasionally leaning into each other to make a comment.
At the end of the show, an unidentified girl walked up to the microphone and said, "Thank you for coming, Your Royal Highnesses. I hope you had a wonderful time at Inner-City Arts. This is something we will always remember." Then a boy walked up to the couple and escorted them out.
William waved to the kids and said, "Brilliant," while Kate waved and said, "It was fantastic."
-- From Times wire reports
Photo: Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, speaks to students during a tour of the Inner-City Arts campus in Los Angeles. Credit: Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times