Our Mentor, Our Leader, Our Elder, Our Friend William Cartwright, Sr.
They are falling all around me
The strongest leaves of my tree.
Every paper brings the news that
The teachers of my time are moving on.
Death comes and rests so heavy
Your face I'll never see no more.
But, you're not really going to leave me.
It is your path I walk
It is your song I sing
It is your air I breath
It's the record you set that makes me go on
It's your strength that helps me stand.
You're not really going to leave me.
I will try to sing my song right.
Be sure to let me hear from YOU.
This song was written by my dear friend Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon many years ago.
I use her words to express my feelings for Bill Cartwright, Sr. He was a very loving, talented man with a broad world vision. His gift, like Simon Rodia, was not only to the Watts Community, but also to Los Angeles, California, the United States and the world at large as is evident by our many visitors.
He was a brilliant award winning editor, producer and director. He also had the vision along with his wife Carole and Nick King to buy the Watts Towers, found the Committee for Simon Rodia's Towers in Watts, save the Watts Towers and start the Watts Towers Arts Center, that remains the guardian and is the arts and museum education institution they envisioned it to be.
We want to thank his sons, William Jr. and Robert, along with their families for so graciously sharing him with us for so many years.
We will continue to stand guard and provide a nurturing non competitive learning environment, this Arts Education Institution, the Watts Towers Arts Center is known for. Our motto is "we don't do mediocre because we don't have to", as is evident by the long list of talented, phenomenal, world class artists that founded and continue to provide leadership here in Watts and perpetuate the legacy of William Cartwright, Sr.
Just like Simon Rodia taught us, "if I stick to it I can do it".
We will always love you Bill.
Rosie Lee Hooks, Director
Watts Towers Arts Center
Charles Mingus Youth Arts Center