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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Watts Still Rising: Visualizing Watts’s Past, Present and Future Through Public Art and Spatial Imaginaries

  • Author(s): Rodriguez, Kaelyn D.
  • Advisor(s): Baca, Judith F
  • et al.

Using spatial theory, social theory, geography and visual analysis, this thesis demonstrates the history of Watts as well as the ongoing community activism that empowers residents. The results of gathering this data and being closely involved with the Watts community have informed the mural, Watts Still Rising and the public monuments we at the Social and Public Art Resource Center have collaborated to design. By visualizing this history through a mural and public markers, we hope to inspired local memories from the past and social consciousness as we advocate for social justice, radical self-love and creativity as forms of liberation. Finally, while the arts movement in Watts from 1965 is overshadowed by the legacy of destruction from the Watts Rebellion, we must remember the tremendous role of the arts in Watts and continue to create artwork that will usher in the future residents’ desire to see.

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