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July 24, 2021

Annual sculpture exhibit returns to Sierra Azul Nursery

WATSONVILLESierra Azul Nursery and Gardens in Watsonville is once again brimming with art as Pajaro Valley Arts’ annual “Sculpture Is” exhibit returns for the 15th year.

Installed in late May and officially opened on June 7, the popular outdoor exhibit will be up through October. Visitors can browse sculptures by 42 artists, of various sizes and mediums, which are situated among the nursery’s two-acre demonstration garden.

Pajaro Valley Arts Exhibit Coordinator Hedwig Heerschop said that a good number of pieces have already been sold in the first month of the show.

“We actually sold a lot of pieces last year, and now we’re closing in on that record,” she said. “It’s really cool. I think some people have money to spend. Maybe they couldn’t go on vacations, or they got a little extra from the government and thought, ‘Hey, why not?’”

Artists from Walnut Creek to Pacific Grove were selected to be part of this year’s exhibit, which features 100 pieces, including everything from garden totems, glass work, abstract steel, mosaics, musical sculptures—ones that include bells, gongs and chimes—and more.

REEDS Pajaro Valley Arts’ Exhibit Coordinator Hedwig Heerschop shows a steel sculpture by San Jose artist Jeff Owen. —Johanna Miller

Heerschop said that certain pieces are collaborative, meaning they are created by a number of artists working together. This includes a tall, sugar skull-themed totem created by a group who used to work together at Watsonville/Aptos Adult Education.

“We also have some brand new artists here this year, which is really nice,” Heerschop said.

“Sculpture Is” was one of PVA’s only exhibits that was able to be physically installed last year, due to its open-air location. And this time around, they were also able to hold a small outdoor gathering for the artists to celebrate the show’s opening.

Shoppers will also have a chance to give back this year. The proceeds of one specific sculpture by Santa Cruz artist Mike McClellan will go to PVA. Entitled “RP 3” and made from marble, steel and wood, the piece will be donated back to the garden as a permanent fixture.

Heerschop said that the exhibit is unique in that it lasts for nearly five months. As such, if a piece is sold, artists have an opportunity to bring in another piece in its place. 

“They have an opportunity to make a little extra money,” she said. “And they love it—they love being here.”

The longtime partnership with Sierra Azul has only grown stronger over the years, Heerschop added. Nursery owners Jeff and Lisa Rosendale have been heavily involved in the show, with Jeff Rosendale often being a co-juror—including this year, along with Susan Arias.)

“We’re a family now,” Heerschop said. “I always appreciate everybody, what everybody does for [the artists], to provide them a space. It’s so appreciated. That’s what we’re doing it for.”

“Sculpture Is” runs through Oct. 31. Sierra Azul Nursery and Gardens, 2660 East Lake Ave., is open daily 10am-5pm.

Johanna Miller
Reporter Johanna Miller grew up in Watsonville, attending local public schools and Cabrillo College before transferring to Pacific University Oregon to study Literature. She covers arts and culture, business and agriculture.

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