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September 26, 2022

PV Arts opens new exhibit, celebrates Porter Building sale

Pajaro Valley Arts (PVA) has had a busy week. Not only have they opened a new exhibit at their gallery on Sudden Street, they also held their first event at the Porter Building, which the organization took ownership of Aug. 1.

When the City of Watsonville and the Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce & Agriculture hosted the Wine, Beer & Art Walk on Aug. 20, PVA officially opened the Porter Building’s doors to the public for the first time. 

Guests were able to walk through two rooms and the main hallway of the first floor, where artwork from Pajaro Valley Unified School District students, teachers, and PVA affiliated artists were displayed. Martinelli’s and Grocery Outlet were set up inside, offering food and drink.

“This building … it’s stunning,” said PVA’s Judy Stabile prior to the event. “The artists were looking around going, ‘look at the brick walls, look at all the hanging space, all the light!’ Even without any major modifications to the building, it’s a beautiful space.”

Attendees of the Wine, Beer and Art walk browse an art exhibit at historic Porter Building in downtown Watsonville. —photo by Erik Chalhoub/The Pajaronian

Stabile said that after the Aug. 1 sale, the organization immediately got to work, spackling and painting the walls. They were given a special use permit by the city to participate in the Wine, Beer & Art Walk.

“This has all been the work of dedicated volunteers,” Stabile said. “It’s amazing to see it come together so fast.”

PVA plans to use the first floor as a gallery and a small performing arts venue, and push out one wall to create an outdoor patio setting. Upstairs will include artist studios, offices and workshop spaces.

“The light in every room is extraordinary,” she said. “Every room has an incredible view of our town, the Fox Theater or the mountains. Imagine an artist working in one of these rooms, painting … It’s going to be incredible.”

Meanwhile, a few blocks away, the organization opened a new exhibit at their current gallery. “Many Threads — One Cloth” opened Wednesday. The show highlights artwork made from a variety of different fibers—from wool and silk to cotton. Local, regional and a handful of out-of-state artists are featured in the show.

Curator Roberta Valdez, a textile artist herself, says she appreciates the diversity of the medium. 

“You see different materials, animal or plant based,” she said. “I love the idea of diversity of threads, of techniques, thought processes and creativity. And how different cultures use different materials. Storytelling, too, is very important. All these pieces have stories behind them. ”

CROSSING POINTS Susan Else created this piece, made from collage and quilted cloth on armature. —photo by Johanna Miller/The Pajaronian

The show includes textile sculptures, clothing, large wall hangings, material displays and more. The broad range of pieces did present a challenge for Valdez and the other installers.

“We weren’t sure how it was going to go together,” she said. “But when things come together and it all works, it’s magic. A miracle. Often textile artists don’t have the venues that other artists do. So I’m really proud we’ve gotten this up.”

Valdez, a relative newcomer to PVA, said she pitched the idea of curating a textile show earlier this year, after another artist backed out of a scheduled show. 

“I was introduced to PVA by a friend,” she said, “who suggested I volunteer for last year’s Día de los Muertos show. I was then invited to be mentored as a gallery committee member. Working with PVA has been amazing. Most are volunteers, and they are so talented and passionate about what they do.”

MARKET WOMEN This piece by Tricia Goldberg is part of Pajaro Valley Arts’ latest exhibit. —photo by Johanna MIller/The Pajaronian

“Many Threads — One Cloth” runs through Oct. 2 at PV Arts, 37 Sudden St. On Thursday PVA hosted a “yarn bombing” with members of the Knitting Guild of Santa Cruz County and the Santa Cruz Textile Arts Guild. 

An opening reception for the exhibit will be held Sunday, 2-4pm at the gallery, 37 Sudden St. On Oct. 1 from 1-3pm, PVA will host “Wearable Stories,” a fashion show featuring the work of local artist Rachel D.K. Clark. 

For information on the exhibit, upcoming events and for updates about the Porter Building, visit pvarts.org.

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, nonprofits and agriculture.

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