The NEXTies return with a vibrant group of honorees

Featured here we have NEXTies 2023 honorees
Featured NEXTies 2023 honorees (left to right, top to bottom) Mak Nova, Woodhouse Brewing, Isabel Contreras, Pana Food Truck, Jessica Yarr, DJ Monk Earl, Campesina Womb Justice and Healey Skelton.

Save the date for March 31, when you can get a peek into what Santa Cruz’s post-pandemic culture will look like as up-and-comers in arts, culture and business get the spotlight.

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.

We are all in store for another year of the NEXTies, the awards show that spotlights the up-and-coming figures in the arts, culture and business in Santa Cruz County. The event, organized by colleagues here at Lookout and our friend Matthew Swinnerton and his company Event Santa Cruz, this year takes place at Woodhouse Brewing on Madrone Street, just off Water Street, on March 31. This is the first year Lookout is joining as co-hosts of this local awards ceremony in the event’s 11 year history.

The exciting thing about this year’s event is its diversity in the background of those it is honoring, capturing an emerging local culture that people of color are shaping and influencing. Among the many being honored this year are visual artist Abi Mustapha, teacher Jessica Carrasco, performing artist DJ Monk Earl, community activist Isabel Contreras, rapper Mak Nova, and, for lifetime achievement, the formidable Watsonville-based activist MariaElena De La Garza, among several others.

The NEXTies event is a chance for locals to dress up a bit and really get a peek into what Santa Cruz’s post-pandemic culture will look like in the years ahead. I hope to see you there.

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