Children’s Institute’s Frank Gehry-Designed Watts Campus Grand Opening

June 30, 2022
Pilar Padilla


Also Check Out: CII’s New Watts Campus In the News

On Saturday, June 25, more than 500 guests joined us in celebrating the grand opening of Children’s Institute’s new Watts campus.

The speaking program included celebratory remarks from CII President and CEO Martine Singer, Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly Mitchell, CII Watts Building Committee Chair Bridget Gless Keller, LAPD Deputy Chief Emada Tingirides, President of the Watts Gang Task Force Donny Joubert, CII Board Trustee Gelila Assefa Puck, and world-renowned architect Frank Gehry.

Lovingly designed by Frank Gehry, this permanent commitment to Watts will be home to programming that enriches and empowers the children and families of the Watts community. A range of offerings for children and families include toddler socialization, individual and group counseling, youth development activities, parenting workshops, workforce development, and Project Fatherhood sessions.

CII, along with community partners—Watts Gang Task Force, the LAPD’s Community Safety Partnership, Watts Willowbrook Conservatory, East Side Riders Bike Club, Cedars-Sinai, Watts Leadership Institute, Sisters of Watts, Ted Watkins Memorial Park, Your Special Day, and St. John’s Community Health—showcased the new space with activities and learning opportunities for the whole family. Free food trucks—South LA favorites All Flavor No Grease, Wings n Waffles, Compton Vegan, and Coolhaus—provided delicious refreshment to attendees while they enjoyed music from Ricardo Lemvo and Makina Loca.

The Watts Gang Task Force, formed nearly 15 years ago to broker peace in the community, will have it’s first-ever permanent home office in this building along with the LAPD’s Community Safety Partnership, a nationally recognized model for relationship-based policing. “The new Watts campus is a beautiful symbol of Children’s Institute’s ongoing commitment to our city and this neighborhood in particular,” said Los Angeles Police Deputy Chief and Children’s Institute Trustee, Emada Tingirides.


Earlier this month, we celebrated the donors, community partners and artists who made our new campus in Watts possible. It is truly inspiring to see so many people from different walks of life, bringing their unique gifts together—whether that be food or art, connections or funds—to make a space like this possible. The art in CII’s new Watts campus was chosen specifically with the Watts community in mind and with the generous help of Watts Towers Art Center Campus Director, Rosie Lee Hooks, and Education Coordinator, Rogelio Acevedo.

Thanks to all of our community friends, partners, elected officials, businesses and neighbors, this will be a place for learning, connection and healing.