Watsonville Brillante mosaic
Christine Kiebert-Boss volunteers her efforts to help assemble one of numerous tile panels for the next phase of Watsonville Brillante Wednesday at the Muzzio Mosaic Art Center on Front Street. — Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian

WATSONVILLE—The third phase of Watsonville Brillante, the massive mosaic project in downtown Watsonville, is taking shape.

Splashed across the exterior walls of the six-story Civic Plaza parking garage at Rodriguez and Second streets, the new phase will come in two halves five months apart. Last week the first half of the work went up, said Watsonville artist Kathleen Crocetti, who heads the project up.

“The second half will go up around October,” Crocetti said. “We’re currently working on it thanks to a team of about 28 adult and student volunteers. It looks amazing and we’re having fun doing it.” 

Crocetti added that the scaffolding and netting that covers the installation on Rodriguez Street will remain in place until the completion of the second half, which is referred to as phase four.

The image of phase three and four, which will measure 40-by-60 feet, is of an indigenous woman named “Hermanita,” and was created by renowned Chicano artist Juan Fuentes, a Watsonville native.

Workers completed installing phase three of Watsonville Brillante, the massive mosaic public art work on the exterior wall of the parking structure at Second and Rodriguez streets. — Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian

The project has been in the works for years and was approved by the Watsonville Parks and Recreation Commission and the Watsonville City Council.

The mosaics are being built in the former Muzzio Park Community Center that is being leased to Crocetti and was recently renamed the Muzzio Mosaic Art Center.

The first two phases of the greater mosaic, installed on the south side of the parking structure, depict an apple picker and a strawberry picker, and were installed by Rinaldi Tile and Marble free of cost.

A drawing from Chicano artist Juan Fuentes shows a rough depiction of what the latest installation of Watsonville Brillante will look like.

“It’s really exciting to be a part of this project,” said Christine Kiebert-Boss, who is volunteering with the creation of the mosaic panels. “To see it going up on the walls is amazing. And to work with Kathleen—to be around her—is such an inspiration; she has such positive energy.”

The project will also include 185 smaller horizontal sections ranging from 3.5-by-4 to 3.5-by-10 and will represent the cultural heritages of different Watsonville families.

Crocetti continues to welcome the community to help make the tile panels. Due to the pandemic, she can only have eight people working on them at a time. Numerous area students have earned umpteen hours of community credit as volunteers. To make a reservation to volunteer, visit communityartsempowerment.org/be-represented/.

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Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. More recently Good Times & Press Banner. 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.


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