Digital Placeholder For An Evolving Community Group


A placeholder for a community center website in Watts, Los Angeles.

The website was intended to be platform for organizing the preservation of a historic city owned building which was in danger of being sold to private development interests and being demolished. There was a political dimension due to an upcoming city council election and the building's significance to the Black community in what is now a predominantly Latino district.


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Web Designer



Photo and rendering of The Watts Happening Cultural Center also known as the Mafundi Building and the Robert Pitts Westminster Neighborhood Center was designed by renowned Black architects Arthur Silvers and Robert Kennard. Completed in 1970, this modernist building served as a home to the Watts Writers Workshop, the Watts Prophets, and the Watts Coffee House among others and provided programming for cultural, civic and artistic minded Black Angelenos.
[Fig01] Historic Context

When I became involved there was a plan to separate the building's operations and fundraising from that of The Friends of Mafundi, the local community group formed to save this building. They had a social media presence but were not registered for fundraising as a 501(c)(3).

I setup a fast placeholder website until a consensus on direction and resources could allow more progress. The site had information about the building's significance and contact info for people wishing to get involved in the preservation.

Website screenshot with Cultural Center logo and photo of the Mafundi Institute mural on the historic building. The mural shows a child's face silhouetted by several superimposed adult faces in profile and the institute's motto: unity, love, power, peace.
[Fig02] Top of Fold


In 2021, I moved to San Diego and followed the progress from a distance:

  • The Mafundi Building was added to the City's Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM) List in September.
  • Friends at Mafundi was awarded a Special Citation for Grassroots Initiative for their efforts to save the building by Docomomo US a national organization the seeks to preserve modern architecture, landscapes and design.
  • Work is being done to place the building on the National Register of Historic Places. (LA Conservancy)
  • The City of Los Angeles and the Watts Happening Cultural Center were awarded a Conserving Black Modernism grant that will support long-term preservation planning in June 2023.

The Friends of Mafundi are now a registered as a 501(c)(3) charitable and educational organization. Their website has come a long way from 2020, and has most of the functionality planned for this one. The website was defunct as of Nov 2023.