What We’re Reading to You: “The Wonderful Towers of Watts” by Patricia Zelver

We are so excited to welcome everyone back to the museum that we decided, for our next installment of “What We’re Reading to You”, to highlight a book about a work in our collection! The Wonderful Towers of Watts by Patricia Zelver, with pictures by Frané Lessac, tells the story of Simon (Sam) Rodia, an Italian immigrant who built 17 interconnected towers in the impoverished Watts neighborhood in Los Angeles, California. He decorated the towers using pieces of mirror and glass, bits of seashells and pottery, and broken tiles and bottles. Now, you might be thinking, FWMoA isn’t in LA! How is this connected to Fort Wayne? Thank glass artist Steve Linn!

The FWMoA atrium is home to a sculpture by Steve Linn inspired by Sam Rodia’s Watts Towers. After we read the book, we’ll take you on a short tour of Linn’s sculpture, discussing where he took inspiration from Rodia and what he made his own. The next time you’re at FWMoA, perhaps enjoying the air conditioning during this hot summer, take a look at the sculpture. How do artists, who are inspired by other artists, maintain their own style while paying homage to their inspiration?

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