Birth of a mural downtown, from a familiar hand

Detail of the mural on the Second Street parking garage in downtown Watsonville
Kathleen Crocetti and volunteers with Community Arts & Empowerment were behind this mosaic mural in Watsonville, and Crocetti’s next project is coming soon to downtown Santa Cruz.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Kathleen Crocetti and the artists of Community Arts & Empowerment, whose mosaic mural you might have seen in Watsonville, are getting ready for another big public-art project — this time on a parking garage in downtown Santa Cruz.

This story was originally featured in this week’s Weekender newsletter. Be first the first to hear about arts and entertainment news in Santa Cruz County — sign up for Wallace’s email newsletter here and and text alerts here.

Big news on the public art front in Santa Cruz, and artist and community dynamo Kathleen Crocetti is inaugurating an ambitious new public-art project for downtown Santa Cruz.

If you’re familiar with downtown Watsonville, you already know about Kathleen and her battalion of volunteers known as Community Arts & Empowerment for their amazing mosaic-tiled murals on the parking garage adjacent to the county courthouse.

On Monday, Crocetti and her artists will open up their new space in downtown Santa Cruz with a kickoff event called “An Evening of Storytelling.”

It’s the opening chapter in a project called “Dancing Waters,” which will result in a 90-foot-long mosaic mural on the Front Street parking garage. The theme is conceived by artist Maha Taitano, and it will focus on the relationship between Native peoples and water. The plan is for the mural to be installed in April, May and June.

Monday’s “Evening of Storytelling” takes place at 5:30 at CA&E’s new studio space in the NIAC Building, 333 Front St. (also the home of those of us at Lookout Santa Cruz). It will feature Kanyon CoyoteWoman Sayer-Roods of the Mutsun-Ohlone, as well as Ian Masterson, “The Surf Professor.”

The following week, on Feb. 27, Taitano will reveal her “story map,” which will make up the new mural at an event at the new studio.

We’ll, of course, be following this eye-opening project as it unfolds.

Sea Walls is an international public-arts program sponsored by the PangeaSeed Foundation, which has already created more...

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