Watts Tower Arts Center is a beautiful building composed of multiple towers. They are connected by an intricate network of rods and wires. It was created by Simon Rodia, who started construction on the tower in 1921 and continued for 33 years until his death in 1954. Over this period of time, Rodia worked in Malibu Potteries as a tile manufacturer and was also a practicing minister. In fact, he also constructed a baptismal for adults and children while he was dealing with the Watts Tower project. And he also performed weddings where the newlyweds had to enter through separate doors going to the altar and then leave the place using only 1 door to symbolize the union of the couple. And he performed these rites even if he was not affiliated to any religious affiliation!
He collected materials from construction sites around the neighborhood and used them to build this amazing piece of art. He did not use any nails or glue in the towers’ assembly, which is what makes the tower even more impressive.
Sadly, Simon Rodia passed away in 1965 and it was the same year that the tensions between the African-Americans and the police were at its peak, which led to the incident known as the Watts Riots that killed 34 people and injured a thousand. Surprisingly, while there were over 200 to 600 buildings that were either damaged or destroyed, the landmark was left completely unscathed. His legacy lives on as the Watts Tower is now a significant city landmark.
Today, the Center offers rotating exhibits of different styles of art. As you walk along the garden surrounding the towers, you get to enjoy various sculptures. The Center also features many classes and workshops that are open to the public. There is even a garden with plants from all over the world!
The Center is open all year round. The garden surrounding Watts Tower gets particularly beautiful in the spring! That being said, it is worth mentioning that the tower itself does not get covered in Christmas lights during December. If you want to see the tower in its full glory, we recommend visiting in the spring or summer.
The cost of entry into Watts Towers is $7 for adults and $3 for children and seniors (ages 3-11 and 65+).
There is a coffee shop located next door to the center! At Watts Coffee House, you can eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner while enjoying the beautiful view of the garden surrounding Watts Tower. And as mentioned above, you can enjoy amazing views of the garden surrounding Watts Tower from Watts Coffee House. The Center is located right next door.
The Watts Tower has long been considered as an important landmark in the city of Los Angeles because of many reasons. One being is that the arts center is often considered as a primary example of outsider art in LA. What makes outsider art unique is that it’s created by artists who are not formally trained in the arts. These artists are often self-taught and their work reflects their unique perspective on the world.
Another reason why Watts Tower is a significant landmark is because this sculpture serves as an embodiment or testament of perseverance. And one good example of that is what happened during the Watts Riots when a significant number of buildings were destroyed and yet the sculpture remained untouched.
Truly, the Watts Tower Arts Center in Los Angeles is a must-see place if you visit the city of angels.