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Who Are the Friends At Mafundi
Friends At Mafundi (FAM) is a coalition brought together by the leadership of Father Amde Hamilton of the pioneering Watts Prophets poets. FAM was formed to help sustain the history, culture, and traditions of the Watts neighborhood breathing new life into the artistic, educational, and historic resources of the community in partnership with existing organizations.
Watts city limits at incorporation and consolidation, c. 1940s. Photo Source: LA County GIS Data Portal
Friends At Mafundi (FAM) is a coalition formed to sustain the history, culture, and traditions of Watts.
Our Immediate Goals
prevent the demolition of the Watts Happening Cultural Center (aka Mafundi Building),
ensure it is granted deserving cultural designations,
oversee its preservation and restoration,
guide the rehabilitation and/or adaptive reuse to create a state-of-the-art cultural hub
and partner with the Watts Prophets Community Education Association and the New Watts Writers Workshop to revive and develop participatory public arts programs that engage latent creative spirits utilizing modern technology.
Our Long-Term Goals
FAM will pursue the recognition of the site as a local, state, and national landmark. We will collaborate with the Watts community and other professionals to develop a viable conservation plan for the building in lieu of demolition. Our plans will include restoring the building to its former glory while expanding it to include an interactive exhibition space and digital archive showcasing the artistic, musical, literary, and dramatic heritage of Watts. We also plan to implement various educational and literary training programs using multidisciplinary arts that is unashamed of celebrating Black culture. The Mafundi Building will include spaces for appropriate community services such as local business enterprises and work/share spaces, and support for the renowned Watts Coffee House. We are also considering the integration of affordable quality living facilities appropriate for artists and artist-in-residence.
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