A huge mural is a work in progress at the Watsonville METRO Center. — Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian

WATSONVILLE—The City of Watsonville is investing $4,000 into public art projects in the coming year.

The Public Art Grant Program, established earlier this month, will distribute four $1,000 grants to different projects by Watsonville artists that aim to improve and enrich the city. Projects can range from murals, paintings and sculptures to performing art such as dances and other performances.

“We’re looking for any kind of art project,” said Parks and Community Services Director Nick Calubaquib. “The purpose of this is really to promote more public art.”

All applicants must fit four criteria: 

• They must be a Watsonville resident

• Project must be completed in a year after the grant is awarded and it must be free to the public

• Project has to be done on publicly- or nonprofit-owned property

• Visual art projects must adhere to the city’s public art guidelines and application process

Applications are due Jan. 31 at 5 p.m. Applications can be emailed to [email protected]. They can also be dropped off or mailed to 231 Union St. in Watsonville.

The projects will be graded by city staff on various aspects, including its description, artistic excellence, community support, social impact, accessibility to residents and realistic budget.

The city will host a workshop on Jan. 8 in the PCS conference room, 231 Union St.,  to answer any questions and help artists complete the application. The workshop starts at 5:30 p.m.

Funding for the grants comes from the city’s Social and Community Service Grants, a yearly allotment for nonprofit organizations that serve the community. More specifically, it was taken from the Special Events Sponsorships portion of the program, which helps yearly events not organized by the city run smoothly by paying for various costs.

The city used that money to fund the Public Art Grant Program after it was heavily criticized by local artists for a $200 fee for community-initiated public art on privately owned commercial property passed by the city council.

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Tony Nuñez is a longtime member of the Watsonville community who served as Sports Editor of The Pajaronian for five years and three years as Managing Editor. He is a Watsonville High, Cabrillo College and San Jose State University alumnus.


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