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Arts Center Named After Jazz Great Charles Mingus

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A new youth arts center in Watts run by the city's Department of Cultural Affairs will have its grand opening later this month during a weekend when two festivals will be happening. Named after the famous jazz musician and past local resident, the Charles Mingus Youth Arts Center will expand space for youth arts programs. The new building, which is next to the Watts Towers Arts Center, will bring more classroom space expanding the department's educational classes that give children a safe and creative atmosphere for individual expression with guidance and direction from professional artists.

While the center is already operation, the grand opening ceremonies will line up with the 32nd Annual Simon Rodia Watts Towers Jazz Festival on Sunday, September 28. On Saturday, September 27, the 27th Annual Watts Towers Day of the Drum Festival will take place.

Additionally, the city won an “American Masterpieces” grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to present a series called “The Charles Mingus-Son of Watts-Musical Caravan,” which will celebrate the life and music of Mingus who played bass and piano while composing for and leading his band, based in Los Angeles. The series will bring concerts to opposite ends of the city in the Valley and the harbor in October (plus one concert next May in Leimert Park)