Watts Towers Arts Center Closed for Facility Improvements April 1 - August 23 2019


The City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs is making necessary improvements in the Watts Towers Arts Center.


The Scope of the work includes but is not limited to:

  • ADA Restroom upgrade

  • Replace track lighting

  • Install new floors

  • Mitigate flooding in Gallery

  • Paint as necessary

  • Remove non-working wall/ceiling heating and cooling units


There will be no activity in the WTAC. During this time all activities will continue in the Charles Mingus Youth Arts Center.


Also, the Watts Towers are currently scaffolded and under conservation for two years. We are now into our second year and expect them to be available for tours inside the fence around the beginning of next year (2020). However we are still providing guided tours outside the fence of the Towers at no cost.


While the inside of the Watts Towers and the Watts Towers Arts Center are closed, visitors may still have the wonderful experience of viewing the Towers from the outside with guided Tours Thursday through Sunday.


Again, all activities of the Watts Towers Arts Center continue in the Charles Mingus Youth Arts Center.


You can reach us at:

(323) 566 - 1410


We apologize for any inconvenience. We appreciate your patience and continued patronage.


Thank you,



Rosie Lee Hooks, Director

Watts Towers Arts Center Campus

Dr. Joseph  & Bootsie Howard Gallery

The Howard Instrument Collection of the Watts Towers Arts Center is a permanent, revolving installation of musical instruments from around the world. It was assembled by Dr. Joseph H. Howard and donated to the Center in 1989. The collection at the Watts Towers Arts Center, about a quarter of Howard's total collection, consists of 144 instruments, the majority of which are non- western. 

Dr. Joseph  & Bootsie Howard Gallery
Perminant Collection

Spirit of the Ancestors

This moving, seminal, visual arts project was conceptualized 

and developed by the Arts Center Director, Rosie Lee Hooks

who commissioned 13 artists from the community to use shovels as a canvas t0 h0nor the legacy of our ancestors. Each of the world renowned, master artists who accepted the challenge have a history with building arts institutions in Watts and the greater Los Angeles community.


Spirit of the Ancestors was designed for and unveiled at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Charles Mingus Youth Arts Center, February 6, 2003. The collection of 13 shovels may be loaned to prospective sponsors who contribute funds for the program development at the Watts Towers Arts Center and Charles Mingus Youth Arts Center.

Spirit Of The Ancestors
Perminant collection
Charles Mingus Gallery
Garden Studio Gallery 

Garden Studio Gallery 

In the Spring of 2009, our community garden was started in our unfinished parking lot. Students ages 6 to 12 came once a week to plant herbs, spices, vegetables, and flowers and design weather vanes, paint, tile flower beds, plant containers, build bird houses and create sculptures for theGarden Studio. The Students, under the tutealage of Rogelio Acevedo and Alejandro Campos, had the satisfaction of watching the seeds become flowers and the small plants flourish and bear fruit, which they were able to harveest. The Garden Studio Program with students from LA's Best expanded to tiling decorative outdoor walls for Watts Community homes. 

Simon Rodia's "Nuestro Pueblo"

Sabato Rodia was born in Serino, Italy (AV) in 1879 and arrived in the United States around 1894. He came to Watts in 1921 at age 42 and was commonly known as "Sam". The Watts Towers of Simon Rodia, his masterpiece and the world’s largest single construction created by one individual, was his obsession for 33 years. He called it “Nuestro Pueblo” or “Our Town”. It is located in the community of Watts in South Central Los Angeles, California.


The Watts Towers structure, consisting of seventeen major sculptures was created by Italian immigrant Sabato “Simon” Rodia out of steel covered with mortar and embellished by the decorative finishings of mosaic tiles, glass, clay, shells and rock. There is no welded inner armature. Rodia wired rebars together then wrapped this joint with wire mesh and hand packed it with mortar and his mosaic surface.


In 1959, the International Conference of Museum Curators resolved that “Rodia’s Towers are a unique combination of sculpture and architecture and the paramount work of folk art of the 20th century in the United States.” The Towers are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, are a National Historic Landmark, a State of California Historic Monument, a State of California Historic Park and, in March 1965, the Watts Towers were officially designated as Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Monument Number 15. At the time the Towers were owned by the Committee for Simon Rodia’s Towers in Watts: William Cartwright, Nicholas King, Edward Farrell, Bud Goldstone, Herbert Khan, Jack Levine, Jeanne Morgan and Seymour Rosen. The Towers were deeded to the City of Los Angeles Municipal Arts Department in 1975.


Public guided tours of the Watts Towers are conducted Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. There are no tours Monday through Wednesday, national holidays or rainy days.

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