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West Coast 'Statue of Liberty'

July 19, 1986

For the past three years I have been working on a project that deals with a monument to freedom that already exists in this city--the Watts Towers.

Having worked closely with the Watts community and with the surviving relatives of Sam Rodia, I know that the towers embody the spirit of liberty to both their creator and the community they have come to represent. Built by an immigrant out of his own initiative to proclaim his sense of freedom, the Watts Towers symbolize liberty as no work commissioned by official authority possibly could. Recognized now as a landmark of modern art and architecture, the towers evoke a sense of freedom to all who visit them and stand as a beacon of hope for the disadvantaged who live around them.

Surely I am not alone in feeling that the Watts Towers should be proclaimed as the great monument of liberty that it is. What more fitting celebration of the 500th anniversary of Columbus' arrival to America could be planned than, say, the completion of an arts complex around the Towers built by his fellow Italian, Sam Rodia.

EDWARD LANDLER

Los Angeles

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