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January 31, 2023

Sprawling mosaic project in sixth phase

WATSONVILLE—Work has resumed on Watsonville Brillante, a massive outdoor mural project on the exterior walls of the six-story Civic Plaza parking garage. The new installation features colorful panels depicting cultures from around the globe, plus panels for all 32 states of Mexico.

The work is the sixth phase of a 10-phase mosaic work that has thus far included four towering six-story panels of an apple picker, a strawberry picker, a flower grower and Hermanita, an indigenous woman of Mexico, created by renowned Chicano artist Juan Fuentes, a Watsonville native.

“We have 122 different cultures represented so far but there are 185 spaces, so we have room for more artwork,” said Kathleen Crocetti, who is heading up the project. “So what I’d like to do is ask people to go to our website and view what cultures are being represented. And if they don’t see their own culture on our website, just contact us and we will find an artist to represent them. This is very important to us and the project.”

While the tile setting is being completed mainly by Sam Ruiz and Julian Macias of Rinaldi Tile & Marble of Pajaro, the creation of the tile murals takes place in the former Muzzio Park Community Center that is being leased to Crocetti and renamed the Muzzio Mosaic Art Center.

“It’s been a lot of fun being a part of this project,” Ruiz said. “We usually don’t do this scale of mosaic installation. I was excited to learn that my great uncle is the artist Juan Fuentes who designed some of the murals.”

Crocetti said that the first installation got underway in March 2020 and that the project is estimated to be completed at the end of 2024.

She welcomes the community to help create the tile panels. Numerous area students have earned umpteen hours of community credit as volunteers. To make a reservation to volunteer, or to suggest a cultural group to be represented in the mural, visit communityartsempowerment.org/be-represented.

Tarmo Hannula
Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.

4 COMMENTS

  1. “Panels for all 32 states of Mexico”
    Are there panels for all the states of the US? 🧐
    Americans are the ones paying for it.

  2. Will there be any American culture in there or just other people cultures? At least in the center of it all should be our American Flag because let’s not forget they are in USA 🇺🇸 and wouldn’t have a greater life here if it wasn’t for our nation and culture.

    • Patriotism is on the wane in the United States. The “open border policy” of those in power in this country continues to take its toll. Law enforcement in general has become “racist” in the minds of those who control the news media and hold govermental control. Voter support will continue to grow from the increasing number of new “citizens”. Looking at the results of recent elections, I see little hope for a reversal of the trend.
      https://openborders.info/emotional-assimilation-and-patriotism/

  3. to respond to the ignorant racist statement below, ALL cultures are found in the USA. That is what makes the USA the greatest nation on earth. we attract people from everywhere. that is why our community college has as it bywords: diversity, equity and inclusion. The USA is a tapestry of many beautiful cultures . and this wonderful mosaic mural celebrates that.
    thank you Julian Macias of Rinaldi Tile for your hard work. it is appreciated !!!

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