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May 30, 2023

Arte Del Corazón founder describes inspiration

Since December 2019, Arte Del Corazón has held pop-up markets where the Pajaro Valley community can meet and buy art from local creators. Their next event is Sunday, March 25 from noon to 5pm at The Slough Brewing Collective, 65 Hangar Way in Watsonville. 

We talked with Monica Galvan, artist, teacher and founder of Arte Del Corazón, about what inspires her.

What’s Arte Del Corazón all about?

We’re trying to increase access, reduce barriers to selling, and engage the community. I want artists to be seen as valuable resources and introduce youth to art as a viable career path. Our elders and society often tell us, “Don’t be an artist. There’s no money in it.” I want to show people what’s possible when we invest in artists. 

What happens at Art Markets?

People will see 10-plus vendors, a DJ and a performer. There are beautifully colored vending booths and food, too. We do our best to create a sense of community. It’s a casual environment, sometimes in a park, brewery or restaurant, where people can simply say hi.

We aim to enliven Watsonville’s nightlife through our Art After Dark events. We want to bring people out and together right here at home versus going to neighboring communities. For people to come out, enjoy music, and feel connected to each other. When you come to our events and buy something, you support an artist’s dream, helping them become successful businesspeople, and give your money to a community member. You go home with an original piece of work made by someone in this community. 

I’m super excited about the third year of our Selena market event. There’s a lipsync battle, lookalike contest, and other fun things to do. I love Selena’s story. She was a designer as much as a singer. She used her talents and went as far as she could. I look up to Selena. She inspired me to be successful and showed me that it all starts with drive.

What excites you about the Arte Del Corazón Markets?

For me, the fun part is seeing people’s faces light up because they see people who look like them selling their art. There’s artwork for sale that speaks to people in Watsonville culturally—like alebrije and Huichol beadwork. Artists also sell jewelry, candles, paintings, stickers and clothing. There’s also usually an artist who does live character drawings. I like that we’re showcasing what happens in Watsonville. 

What inspires you?

I do this work because I want to see a time when artists are treated equally in their worth in relation to other trades and careers…for artists like me to feel confident and worthy. Everyone is helpful to humanity—we need the people who clean houses, work in restaurants, build houses, and artists! Creative workers of all kinds are valuable. We need the skills and access to be successful. For many of us, we hold multiple jobs to be able to live here. Art often comes last. And for people of color, it is even more challenging. 

I’m also looking for ways to show youth what’s possible. Arte Del Corazón recently created a youth art collective. We get together weekly to support developing their arts practice, learning how to be an artist, and using their creativity to address social issues. 

Through this work, the art markets, and other activities, Arte Del Corazón is making its mark on this community. 

Upcoming Arte Del Corazón Markets:

• Lovers & Friends, March 26, noon-5pm at The Slough Brewing Collective

• Dreaming of You Selena Tribute, April 15, noon-5pm at Romo Park

About Arte Del Corazón

Arte Del Corazón’s mission is to provide artists—especially those historically excluded from the arts sector—opportunities for financial advancement, professional development and community engagement. Learn more at instagram.com/Artedelcorazon831.

About Arts Council Santa Cruz County

The Arts Council’s mission is to nurture and invest in artists, culture and the arts. Through grants to artists and arts organizations, arts education programs that serve more than 20,000 youth across Santa Cruz County, and community initiatives such as Open Studios and the Watsonville Center for the Arts, we help Santa Cruz County thrive. Learn more at artscouncilsc.org.


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