This Web site was active until 2011, when the festival and conference ended.
For current information on this initiative, go to the Watts Towers Common Ground Initiative Facebook page.


Gigli di Nola RodiaSabato Rodia

The extraordinary Watts Towers were created over the course of 3 decades by a single-minded artist-artisan, Sabato (Simon, Sam) Rodia, an Italian immigrant who wanted to do “something big.
Now a National Historic Landmark and internationally-renowned icon, they are both a personal artistic expression and a collective symbol of Nuestro Pueblo—Our Town/Our People.

The Watts Towers Common Ground Initiative: Art - Migrations - Development
seeks to celebrate the common ground of the Towers, a locus of creativity, of sustained resolve in adversity and of positive public transformation. With an eye to renewing civic commitment to art in community contexts, this INITIATIVE will encompass a range of public events throughout the city, including an international conference at the University of California at Los Angeles and Watts, and a festival of art, film, theater, music, communal food tables and city tours.

Both festival and conference carry forward the conversation begun at the international conference "Art and Migration: Sabato Rodia's Watts Towers in Los Angeles", jointly sponsored by the University of Genova and the UCLA International Institute (Italy, April 2009), which examined the monument’s multiple resonances within the milieux of local and global migrations, of contested social and urban spaces, and of the rapport between art and economic development. [related documents]

2009 Genova Meeting
Some conference participants, Genova, April 2009

How are these divergent discourses and goals best bridged? How is “common ground” fostered around the Watts Towers? The continued well-being of the Towers and their adjacent Art Center, as well as the divergent communities which sustain and are sustained by them depend upon how well we answer these questions.


Project Coordinator: Luisa Del Giudice

With the assistance of: Thomas Harrison, Edward Landler, Rudy Barbee, Jo Farb Hernandez, Rosie Lee Hooks, Janine Watkins, Edward Tuttle

UCLA Conference Committee: Thomas Harrison, Luisa Del Giudice, Jo Farb Hernandez, Paul Harris, Alessandro Dal Lago

UCLA Conference
October 22-24, 2010

Los Angeles Festival
September 25 March 19, 2011

Festival events and UCLA Conference are free, open to the public, and require no registration.

“Day in Watts” Tour (Oct. 24) requires reservation and pre-payment.

All events are on a first come, first served basis. Space is limited.

Download brochure [3.3 MB]


Watts on Facebook