For the residents and staff at Watts House Project, December is a month for renewing community and celebrating friendships and family. For the third year now, the neighborhood on 107th Street and WHP have come together for the thrice annual Potluck Posada. What is a Posada? A Posada is a procession and reenactment of the events leading up to the Nativity. Neighbors, collectively, walk from house to house signing a traditional hymn while carrying a model of the Nativity scene (without the baby Jesus). They ultimately settle at one location where a small baby Jesus is nestled into the model. A Posada typically lasts 9 nights, the same time it took Mary Joseph to find an in-keeper who would give them shelter. The residents on 107th Street condense all the festivities into one great event and this year, the Platform, WHP’s headquarters and community hub, is once again the location of the celebration!
In the spirit of community and collaboration that marks this month, we asked Rosa Gutierrez, resident at the Flower House on 107th Street and WHP’s Resident Coordinator since 2009, what memories she would share with us about her experiences seeing community coming together. A mother of ten and a grandmother three times over, Rosa recalled her first experience with WHP. “When my house was first painted in 2009, everyone came out to help. Neighbors helped out, college students, kids from our street and surrounding streets, even tourist who came to see the Towers helped out.”
When we asked how it made her feel that neighbors, volunteers, WHP staff, and complete strangers grabbed a paint brush and painted her home, she commented, “I was so impressed by the work, the volunteers, and the community spirit that I wanted other neighbors in Watts to benefit from the work and sense of community.” “It made me feel like we were all friends, like we were all connected. It was magical.” We agreed.
In late October, WHP brought some of that magic to the Urban Land Expo at the LA Convention Center. We were invited by Frances Anderton to participate in a unique staging area called “The Square,” that featured a plethura of organizations engaged in rethinking space, art, and community in Los Angeles. The convention attracted more than 6,000 people and brought together leading figures in architecture, investment, urban planning, government, and land development.
As this year wraps up, the staff at WHP and the neighbors on 107th Street would like to wish you and yours wonderful and safe holiday. We look forward to a New Year and a new home thanks to the support of organizations like ArtPlace. 2012 is going to be an amazing year for us and the entire community. Stay tuned!