Posted in Preservation News
UNESCO World Heritage sites are considered among those monuments, neighborhoods, and buildings that demonstrate Outstanding Universal Value – the best in the world. We believe that the Watts Towers art environment in Los Angeles qualifies under that criteria, and are looking to submit an application for their review, but we have an extremely small window of opportunity to advance the candidacy of this site: paperwork must be received by UNESCO by April 30 – less than one month away!
In order for the nomination to even be submitted, we need the support of the City of Los Angeles, managers of the Watts Towers. To that end, we urge you to write to Mayor Eric Garcetti and the following list of staffers and administrators, urging them to support this initiative. My sample letter is attached, but please feel free to personalize it to reflect your own experience with and support of the Towers.
Thanks in advance for helping us bring additional visibility and protection to one of the most important art environments the world over!
Send letters to:
Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles: email@example.com
Edgar Garcia, City of Los Angeles, Office of the Mayor: Edgar.firstname.lastname@example.org
Danielle Brazell, General Manager, Department of Cultural Affairs: email@example.com
Daniel Tarica, Assistant General Manager, Department of Cultural Affairs: firstname.lastname@example.org
Leslie Thomas, Director, Community Arts Division Dept. of Cultural Affairs: Leslie.email@example.com
Joseph Buscaino, Councilman, 15th District 15: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike Davis, Commissioner, City of Los Angeles Board of Public Works: Mike.email@example.com
Joel Jacinto, Commissioner, City of Los Angeles Board of Public Works, Joel.firstname.lastname@example.org
Sean Woods, Superintendent, Los Angeles Sector, California State Parks: email@example.com
Leslie Hartzell, Chief, Cultural Resources Division, State Parks: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Ridley-Thomas, Los Angeles County Supervisor, Markridleyemail@example.com
Herb J. Wesson, Councilman, 10th District: Councilmember.firstname.lastname@example.org
And copy them to:
Jo Farb Hernández, Director, SPACES: email@example.com
Luisa Del Guidice, Watts Towers UNESCO Committee: firstname.lastname@example.org
Maxine Waters, U.S. Congresswoman, Attn: Terry Nicholson: Terry.email@example.com
Isadore Hall III, California State Senator, Attn: Lucy Walker firstname.lastname@example.org
Holly Mitchell, California State Senator: Holly.email@example.com
Mike Gipson, 64th District Assemblymember: Attn: Keara Joe Keara.firstname.lastname@example.org
Craig Watson, Director, California Arts Council: email@example.com
Julie Fry, President and CEO, California Council for the Humanities Attn: Felicia Kelley firstname.lastname@example.org
Rosie Lee Hooks, Director, Watts Towers Arts Center Campus, Dept. of Cultural Affairs, Watts.email@example.com
March 24, 2016
SPACES (Saving and Preserving Arts and Cultural Environments)
9053 Soquel Drive, Suite 205
Aptos, CA 95003
Eric Garcetti, Mayor
City of Los Angeles
Via email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Mr. Garcetti:
As you no doubt know, the Watts Towers complex, built by Italian immigrant Sabato Rodia over a 30-plus year period beginning in 1921, is not only the most important public art work in the City of Los Angeles, but has been recognized with state and national status on their registers of historical landmarks and monuments. It is renowned globally as an icon of the genre of art environments and is a draw for art enthusiasts from around the world; indeed, a 2009 international conference in Italy focused on the Towers, and I myself have used them as the fulcrum for discussions about art environments across the United States, as well as in lectures in France, Spain, and Switzerland.
At this time we have the opportunity to assure that the Watts Towers gain even further visibility and protection by having them be considered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The window of opportunity for submission of this application, however, is tight: we must submit all paperwork by April 30, just over one month away. We have the backing from the current owners of the monument – the State of California’s State Parks system – as well as from an impressive roster of international scholars and citizen advocates. And we have no doubt that we will be easily able to meet and surpass the criteria for the “Outstanding Universal Value” that is required for the nomination to move forward in the process. (For further information, you might wish to review additional documentation about the Towers at www.WattsTowersCommonGround.org or http://spacesarchives.org/explore/collection/environment/watts-towers/.)
This application, however, cannot move forward without the express support of the City of Los Angeles, managers of the site.
I therefore urge you, in the strongest possible terms, to take all immediate measures necessary to authorize submittal of this application enabling the Watts Towers to be reviewed as a possible candidate for UNESCO World Heritage status. You, and the City of Los Angeles, have nothing to lose but much to gain should the candidacy be approved.
Should you have any questions, I would be pleased to answer them or to provide whatever additional information you might require.
Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this matter, and congratulations, in advance, for having begun the process to add an important World Heritage Site to the list of Los Angeles’s many assets.
Jo Farb Hernandez