Jane Gregorius talks about an acrylic painting by Marget Murray at the current exhibit at Pajaro Valley Arts' gallery titled "new Beginnings." —photo by Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian

Every year, local arts organization Pajaro Valley Arts (PVA) hosts an annual Members Exhibit, where its members have the chance to showcase their artwork to the community.

This year’s show, dubbed “New Beginnings,” opens on Jan. 18 and will include the work of 95 local artists. Painting, sculpture, drawing, ceramics, fiber, mixed media, encaustic (wax), print-making, photography, glasswork and more will be displayed.

Co-curators Carol Walberg and Jane Gregorius joined forces to put on this year’s exhibit. The title “New Beginnings,” they said, has more meaning than the show being PVA’s first of 2023.

“It’s our first show of the year, yes, but we also wanted to start anew after all the Covid shutdowns,” Walberg said. “We wanted to encourage our members to try new things, and also do more outreach to get new people involved.”

Walberg said that they had an overwhelming response to this year’s exhibition. A lot of longtime members, but also brand new members jumped on the opportunity to be part of the show. 

“We were worried we wouldn’t have enough room,” she said. “So many people requested to be in it. That surprised me.”

Walberg dubbed Gregorius, who has curated a number of exhibitions in the past, as the show’s “aesthetic curator,” finding ways to display the art in a pleasing manner throughout the gallery.

“I knew I wanted Jane to help,” she said. “The way you organize each room is really important—that’s what makes or breaks a show. Getting the colors right, how things look next to each other. You can see how each room has a subtle theme to it, whether it’s through colors or subject. It’s not exact, but your eyes notice it.”

The show’s featured piece, simply titled “190906,” was created by Jaime Sanchez, a local artist responsible for a number of public murals throughout Watsonville who is heavily involved with the local arts scene. 

“We saw Jaime’s work a couple years ago at Open Studios, and were blown away,” Walberg said. “We went to his home and hand selected this piece.”

A large painting by Watsonville artist (right) Jaime Sanchez, a metal sculptures by Keith Miller and an artwork by David Fleming welcomes visitors at the current exhibit. —photo by Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian

Looking into 2023, PVA has a number of other exhibitions scheduled. It will host its annual fundraising exhibit, “Take Aways: Art to Go!” from March 22 through May 17, and once again set up at Sierra Azul Nursery and Gardens in June for the “Sculpture Is” show.

In addition, PVA is slowly but surely utilizing the Porter Building, which it acquired from the city last year. It will be a while before the organization can move its entire operation into the building, they said, but things are moving forward. They hope to continue holding events, and possibly classes and workshops starting in the spring.

Newly hired Program Coordinator Josefina Rocha said the PVA is looking to attract more local teaching artists who want to teach different artistic mediums in South County.

“We want to give opportunities to people who don’t want to drive all the way to Santa Cruz,” Rocha said. “We are super excited to get this together.”

“New Beginnings” opens Jan. 18 and will run through Feb. 26. An opening reception will be held at the gallery, 37 Sudden St., on Jan. 22 from 2-4pm. 

Gregorius urged people to attend the show, and consider getting involved with PVA.

“This show is a tribute to artists in our community,” she said. “It’s a great time to become a member of PVA and find out what we are doing.”

“New Beginnings” opens Jan. 18 and will run through Feb. 26. Pajaro Valley Arts’ gallery is open Wednesday-Sunday, 11am-4pm. Admission is free and the gallery is ADA accessible.

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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, nonprofits and agriculture.



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