Watts House Project, an arts neighborhood redevelopment organization based opposite the historic Watts Towers, has acquired three neglected houses and is re-creating them as The Platform, an artist work site, programs hub, and exhibition venue woven into the fabric of the area.
Programs Director Trinidad Ruiz updates us on their progress:
RUIZ: We recently noticed the flowers blooming around us, birds chirping and children riding their bikes around the Watts Towers during weekdays. It can only mean one thing: Summertime in Watts! Watts House Project now enters into the next phase of the plans for the Platform: demo and later construction. With one eye on the present work of removing the old husk of these 100 year old structures, we have the other eye on the future: what will be different in the Watts community as a result of the Platform’s revitalization?
Once the Platform is completed, the homes, currently dilapidated and crumbling buildings, will serve as the new and fully equipped headquarters for WHP. It will also serves as a hub for the community. We can image the look of the block changing after the renovations and we are hopeful that the work will inspire a new vision for imaging the possibilities of community. Restoring the Platform and putting it to productive use, we hope to channel the energy of the neighborhood, galvanize local artists into action and further anchor our mission into the idea that art and design can improve communities. The revitalized Platform will bring more than art and architecture to the area, we expect the Platform to serve as a symbol that creativity is not exclusive.
By using as Platform as the launching pad for new construction projects with artists, architects and the community, and bringing much needed design to more homes in the area, the Platform will be the example of creative place making. From small to extensive changes, these construction projects will enhance the Watts community. The programs will change much more than the outward appearance of the community, we hope to change the experience of Watts. For the residents and for all of the visitors to the Towers that Watts, it is important to communicate that this area is undergoing a sort-of renaissance. Additional events and happenings will also be planned and launched from the Platform. Driven by the community, these programs will add a new dimension to the collaborations between artists and the residents.
The differences in the community will be large and the work extensive. We have already begun to reach out to the Watts residents by holding weekly breakfasts on Thursday mornings. We were surprised to see many new friends come out for a fresh cup of coffee, OJ, and a donut. If you’re in the area on Thursday mornings from 6:30am to 10am, please come by for a quick pick-me-up!