I recently made my first visit to the Pajaro Valley Arts (PVA) in Watsonville, it’s a quick drive from Santa Cruz. The first thing you might notice heading into the gallery is that PVA’s logo is designed with the richly warm color scheme of teal, orange, and yellow. I make a comment to Betsy Andersen, Executive Director of Museo Eduardo Carrillo, on how good it looks. A really great first impression!
Once inside PVA Betsy gives Eduardo Carrillo’s oil painting, Value King, to them for their upcoming collaborative exhibit Hablamos Juntos/Together We Speak, Un Diálogo Visual/A Visual Dialog. This represents an ongoing collaboration between PVA, Young Writers Program (YWP) and Museo Eduardo Carrillo (MEC).
Later I was informed that a prestigious National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant has funded this exhibition which is based on the Hablamos Juntos/Together We Speak project. The collaboration was spearheaded by Museo Eduardo Carrillo, Pajaro Valley Arts and Young Writers Program. In its fifth year the collaboration between the MEC and YWP put works of contemporary Latinx artists in front of middle and high school students as inspiration for personal narratives which are published in full color hard bound books. The Hablamos Juntos exhibition draws from artists in the first two years of the project and will feature the artwork of 20 artists from across California. Curator and artists’ stipends for workshops and panel discussions will be offered in conjunction with the exhibit.
The exhibit’s purpose was inspired by a comment made about “seeing original artwork” during Watsonville’s first Art Walk. The Art Walk contained banners of the Hablamos Juntos artwork and teen writing hung in the outward facing business windows in the downtown corridor. It was an open exhibit to bring Latinx art and the Watsonville community together.
Judy Stabile is officially PVA’s Treasurer but is also known to be a wearer of many hats and talents. Judy was motivated when she heard about the Art Walk comment and mobilized a team to schedule an exhibit at the Pajaro Valley Arts from August 8 – October 7, 2018 centered on original artworks that participated in the Hablamos Juntos project. Judy also made a point to give credit to the teamwork involved in making the exhibit a reality. I could tell Judy was effectively thorough when planning the exhibit because she spoke about the time limitations that a physical exhibit has and then followed up with a way to combat the issue. Judy Stabile and her team use a certain software to create really outstanding virtual tours that can be viewed online on the PVA’s website long after the physical exhibits have gone.
PVA represents to me what agency looks like under strong leadership and commodiere with community. Judy’s tenure with PVA makes her the heart and pulse of the gallery while running with a vibrant team built on grit and determination. I got a chance to interview Judy and learn her story within the organization as we walked around the pre-installed exhibit space. She is energetic, passionate, effective, and driven; qualities that make for a vanguard in Watsonville’s creative community. Judy started showing her work at PVA in the 1990’s and then decided in 2010 to enter the board during hard times for the organization. Most people weren’t aware of PVA’s risk of closure due to prior lacking leadership. After Judy stepped in to help, PVA overcame its obstacles by looking to grants for funding, building a strong board/committee, and fundraising. All with an attitude committed to creating quality exhibits and shows relevant to the community.
I left Pajaro Valley Arts in good heart and energy and I can honestly attribute it to the work Judy Stabile and the rest of the PVA family. The organization runs mostly through volunteer work which speaks volumes to the level of community engagement and heart they have. Come out and check out this truly inspirational show opening on August 8th.
Pajaro Valley Arts Website:
Hablamos Juntos Collaboration with PVA Info:
Hablamos Juntos 3D Gallery Tour: