The Watts Towers, also known as the The Watts Towers of Simon Rodia, are a group of 17 interconnected sculptures that are located in the Watts area of Los Angeles. These fascinating pieces of public art were created by Italian immigrant Sabato ("Simon") Rodia from 1921 until 1954, an impressive 33 years.
Today, these iconic towers made from steel and concrete and decorated with pieces of porcelain, tile, glass, and found objects such as bottles, mirrors, figurines, and sea shells, reside within Simon Rodia State Historic Park. They are considered to be one of the most important 20th-century works of folk art in the United States.
Things to Do
- View the phenomenal Watts Towers up close and marvel at the incredible amount of effort and detail that Simon Rodia put into their creation.
- Visit the nearby Watts Towers Arts Center, which provides creative arts classes including painting, dance, photography, sculpture, tiling, music, and gardening. It was created as a way of investing in the Watts community after the Watts Towers were sold to a new owner who wanted to preserve them.
- If you're in Los Angeles over the last weekend in September, make sure to visit the Annual Simon Rodia Watts Towers Jazz Festival and the Annual Watts Towers Day of the Drum Festival. Both festivals feature talented musicians as well as food vendors and items for sale from artisans.
Watts Towers Insider Tips
- Take a guided tour of the Watts Towers in order to see these impressive hand-made structures. Public tours are available Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 10:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. and from 12:30 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Sundays, unless it's raining.
- Make sure to stop into the Watts Towers Art Center in order to watch the 12-minute short film in which artist Simon Rodia explains his motivation for creating the towers and how he did it.
- If your kids love playing games like "I Spy", have them see if they can spot any soft drink logos they recognize within the sculptures - Rodia used bottles from familiar brands such as Squirt and 7 Up in his creation!