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Folk Art in Los Angeles

By Linda Tancs

Around 1894 Italian immigrant Sabato Rodia arrived in the community of Watts in South Central Los Angeles, California. He distinguished himself there by building a series of 17 major sculptures out of steel covered with mortar and embellished with mosaic tiles, glass, clay, shells and rock. Completed in 1954, the so-called Watts Towers are an icon of the community, the world’s largest single construction created by one individual and a paramount work of folk art. Designated a Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Monument, the works are also listed on the National Register of Historic Places, are a National Historic Landmark, a State of California Historic Monument and a State of California Historic Park. Public guided tours are available on weekends.

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