Mercado storefront
Hermelinda Vasquez-Matias at her Mercado Artesenal booth.
(Arts Council Santa Cruz County)
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Arte Del Corazón: Increasing access to the arts in Pajaro Valley

Arte Del Corazón brings local creators together twice a month in downtown Watsonville and on Freedom Boulevard. Fiscally sponsored by Arts Council Santa Cruz County, together they are activating the potential of the South County arts and culture community.

Generosity, inclusion, and love. That’s what it is all about for Arte Del Corazón founder and artist, Monica Galvan.

Her vision for Arte Del Corazón came while taking a business class at Cabrillo College. Galvan noticed there were places for children and youth in Watsonville to experience visual arts on a regular basis, but few for adults.

To build toward her larger dream of an interactive gallery for exhibits, a store, and even an artful playground, Galvan knew she needed to build an audience of creators and appreciators. In December 2019, Arte Del Corazón’s mercado artesenal (art market) was born.

Watsonville has always been a vibrant arts community. Galvan is inspired to bring folks together to uplift and celebrate what’s been here all along. And, to connect artists who often work on their own.

Cultivating Culture - October 15, 2021. A community-led collaborative event featuring Watsonville-based artists. Special thanks to: Arte Del Corazon Monica Galvan Cristal Gonzalez Graciela Vega

Arte Del Corazón’s art markets are organized by the Arte Del Corazón team - Monica Galvan, Cristian Almanza, Marisa Marquez, Isa Moreno, Alejandra Hernandez, and Nessa Ledesma - and feature local creators and performers.

Join the next Mercado Artesenal

On Saturday, November 20th, head to The Slough Brewing Collective as they join Arte Del Corazón to present the Fall Into Music Mini-Fest. There you’ll meet and be able to buy art from local creators and take in music from up-and-coming local talent. Performers include DJ Ugly Eye, It’s 1am Somewhere, and Gradnite. Ten vendor booths will include Liz Chavez, Evan Siegesmund, Denise Armstrong, Karina Moreno, and Adrianna Torrez, and others. “Everyone is welcome. Come on out,” encourages Galvan.

“We need to create spaces where Watsonville-based artists can connect with each other and the community. It’s important for people to see art, talk about art, and show the next generation that creative jobs can be sought out. Our artists need exposure and income to make it here.”

— Monica Galvan, Founder and Artist of Arte Del Corazón

Community Support at the Heart

To support artists and grow a following, consistency is key. “As an artist, I’d been invited to a market here and there, but there hasn’t been a consistent market for my work,” says Galvan. “If you don’t know, you don’t know. If it isn’t consistent, it’s difficult to be responsive.”

arte del corazon's logo

Since April 2021, Art Del Corazón has been holding pop-up markets monthly at Romo Park and other outdoor venues. “We’re trying to increase access, reduce barriers to sell, and engage the community.”

Even the logo is community-sourced. Created by Ome the Artist, the Arte Del Corazón logo is a gorgeous reflection of what the organization is all about.

“Art comes from the heart. Its source is unexplainable. Artists put care, love, and passion into their work.”

— Monica Galvan, Founder and Artist of Arte Del Corazón

For Monica, this work is personal. From a young age, she discovered how art connects people to themselves, each other, and ideas. She has never stopped learning. Galvan will earn an MFA in Spatial Arts in 2022.

Arts Council Santa Cruz County
(Arts Council Santa Cruz County)

Arte Del Corazón is part of a growing movement for arts and culture in Watsonville, which uplifts artists, art lovers, youth, and families to enjoy the arts in all its forms. This group of community-based artists and stakeholders is working to increase space for and access to the arts in Watsonville and the Pajaro Valley.

Supported by Arts Council Santa Cruz County, Arte Del Corazón recently received a grant and is also a fiscal sponsee which means that the Council provides fiduciary oversight, financial management, and other administrative services to help build its capacity.

Arte Del Corazón is growing. With Galvan at the helm, so much is possible.

Be sure to join the ‘Fall into Music’ Mini-Fest on November 20th. Then, look out for a collaborative Holiday Market December 17th-19th at Pajaro Valley Arts.

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