Los Angeles – Today Superintendent Austin Beutner and special guests unveiled a colorful, 18-foot bench at the Simon Rodia Continuation High School. Students partnered with artists from the Watts Towers Arts Center Campus to create the unique artwork.
Students worked on the conception, design and installation of the bench. Artists-in-Residence at the Watts Towers Arts Center Campus were also instrumental in molding the project. The Ken Mason Tile Company donated material and supplies.
“The arts should be a part of every students’ education,” Superintendent Beutner said. “They nurture the imagination and build creativity. Special thanks to the Ken Mason Tile Company and the artists from the Watts Towers Arts Center Campus for supporting our students on this project.”
The school bears the name of Rodia, the self-taught artist who spent more than thirty years creating the soaring iconic Watts Towers. This Los Angeles landmark – made of steel, bits of kitchen plates, mortar, soda bottle chards and caps and tile in mosaic patterns – is the nation’s best known work of folk art sculpture.
“Today was a special day for our students and our community partners,” Vice President Goldberg said. “This unique, colorful and student-driven project truly honors Simon Rodia, with its collaboration and the love of art. Thank you to the Ken Mason Tile Company for donating the materials and supplies.”
“In the words of Edgar Degas, ‘Art is not what you see, but what you make others see,’” South Gate Community of Schools Administrator Jesus Nunez said. “In our case, what we see is imagination. Thank you to our students, partners and the Ken Mason Tile Company for creating this beautiful bench that represents the best of you.”
Representing the tile company, Alex Vassaux said, “Being part of the community and being able to give back specially to our youth is a reward on its own. Seeing the students express themselves with such passion and dedication…the sky’s the limit.”
Student Evan Pataky worked on the project. “I am excited about how the bench turned out,” he said. “Our work will be engraved for many years to come.”
“This bench has really changed the look of the school,” Teacher Jesus Martinez said. “Now we are ‘mosaicking’ the whole school with new projects, which will continue the Simon Rodia legacy.”