Simon's Self-Portrait
  • A small bust of Simon Rodia is perched on the seventh horizontal rung of the tower atop the Gazebo.
  • Seven rungs above that Simon placed a headless Angel pointing skyward.
  • Simon walked away from the Towers in 1954.
  • Before he left he deeded the property and the Towers to the only neighbor he had who had never called him crazy.
  • Simon Rodia turned up at his sister's in Martinez, California but he never returned to the place where he spent 33 years working diligently on the greatest piece of artwork of its kind done by a singel person.
What Simon Left Us...
  • Simon's artistic monument is the nucleus for all art and culture in the community of Watts.
  • The Watts Towers Arts Center was born out of the community in 1965.
  • Noah Purifoy and Judson Powell, local artists, began teaching art classes under a tarpulin draped over Simon's burned out house.
  • A fund-raising effort was undertaken and the Watts Towers Art Center was constructed then dedicated on March 1, 1970.
  • It was placed under the direction of Curtis Tan, a well-respected artist in the community and an educator.

The Arts Center
  • In 1976, the community turned the Center over to the City of Los Angeles Municipal Arts Department
  • Its official dedication was held on June 23rd of that same year.
  • Mr. John Otterbridge, now a world renoun artist and sculptor, was selected as the first director of the Center and remained at its head for over 16 years until his retirement in 1992.
  • Since taking over as its Center Director in 1994, Mark Greenfield continues the tradition of providing a diverse selection of programs designed for the cultural enrichment of Watts, the City of L.A. and the world.

  Three Tallest Towers ALL DONE!