[Context to these programs in lieu of critiques by the press and others of WHP: Watts Towers Art Center hosted excellent art programs for children during the summer months but, given the limited space and the additional children bused in from outside of the area, many children in the neighborhood were not allowed to participate. This is reason we decided to host art programs for these children.]
In my second summer at WHP in 2011 I expanded the Summer Family Art Series by making it bigger: more artists, more kids, and more fun! As the year before these classes were geared towards creativity, the environment, agency, and the interplay of space, ecology and use. This year I asked Edgar Arceneaux, Raul Curiel, and some outstanding artists interns – Sarah Loyer, Marvella Muro, Jason Leith, and Christine Fuchs to help realize the projects. I also coordinated with a nutrition summer program to drop off healthy lunches for the children.
I met Raul Curiel a local mosaic designer and artist in 2010 and saw his works around Los Angeles, commissioned for parks and at private residences. I pitched the idea to Raul about teaching a class on mosaic design during the summer months to young children. After all, the brilliant Watts Towers are there for inspiration! He agreed but with trepidation, “Do you think they’re going to get it?” he asked. He developed a unique method that runs contrary to the past 2,000 years of mosaic application! His suspicions weren’t unfounded – the photos say it all! Most of the faces of the children show confusion, frustration, and outright boredom with the process (in one case, a little boy is more interested in finding out what’s in his nose than listening to instructions)! By the end of the last week of class it all came together! You can see all the joy in their faces!