Rosie Lee Hooks brings a vast array of experience and talent to the Watts Towers Arts Center Campus. An actor, singer, filmmaker, Festival Producer, arts administrator, photographer, educator and a 1st degree Black Belt in Tang Soo Doo Karate, Hooks is a person of artistic integrity with passion and a high regard for education.
An accomplished actor and singer for more than 35 years, Hooks began her career in theater at the D.C Black Repertory Theatre Company in Washington DC where she was a founding member, resident actor and training coordinator for five years. A founding member of The Black Ensemble Theatre Center (TBET) at LATC (Los Angeles Theatre Center), her acting credits include touring the US and Europe with the Mark Taper Forum. Hooks continues to act in film, television and on stage and is a three-time nominee and is the recipient of two prestigious NAACP "Image Awards;" she is also former member of the renowned singing ensemble, "Sweet Honey In The Rock."
Before taking her position as Director of the Watts Towers Arts Center Campus, Hooks was the Director of Festivals and Gallery Theatre for the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. There, in addition to conceptualizing and producing more than 300 multicultural, multi-disciplined and culturally specific festivals, special events and theatre programs, she developed the now 24-year-old Jazz Mentorship Program, which exposes young people to America's indigenous art form.
Some of Hooks' first published photographs can be seen in the book, "Black People and Their Culture", a photo essay that documented the African Diaspora Program at the Smithsonian Institution. She has produced more than 21 films documenting the culture of various ethnic communities in Southern California. She also produced the video, Trading Dirt with Simon Rodia & Allan Kaprow with LA Cityview channel 35, in conjunction with MOCA.
While working for the Smithsonian Institution, she produced the African Diaspora Program of the Festival of American Folklife, presenting folk and traditional artists and cultural materials, as well as performers, visual artists and arts and crafts from the US, Caribbean, Latin America, South America and Africa. As Diplomatic Liaison, she was responsible for establishing and maintaining relationships between the Smithsonian and Embassy Ambassadors for Liberia, Nigeria, Zaire, Senegal, Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, Surinam, Guywana and Brazil. On "Official Passport", she delivered the government-to-government invitations from the United States to the Minister of Culture in many of these countries.
Her work in early childhood education with HEW Region IV included supervision, development and design of multidisciplinary programs for Head Start & Follow Through staff with colleges and universities in the eight southeastern states; and she served as Educational Consultant to the HEW Regional Office of Child Development.
Her work as been honored with many Awards, including the Rainbow Award from the Los Angeles Women's Theatre Festival. She has also received numerous Community Service Awards from the Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center, the Charles Drew School of Medicine Foundation, and in 2011 she was appointed as a Southern California's Freedom Sister by the Museum of Tolerance.