Kathleen crocetti Watsonville brillante
Watsonville artist Kathleen Crocetti works Wednesday on the next installment of Watsonville Brillante, the giant outdoor mosaic artwork that was named best in show in an international exhibition. Photo: Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian

Watsonville Brillante, the massive, 10-phase outdoor mosaic project in Watsonville, has just been named Best in Show in the Mosaic and Glass Arts International 2023 exhibition series in Buffalo, New York. 

Lead artist Kathleen Crocetti of Watsonville learned of the prestigious announcement Wednesday.

“When I first proposed Watsonville Brillante I wanted to make Santa Cruz County a mosaic artist destination, a place people come to intentionally to see mosaics, like they might go to Barcelona to see Gaudi,” Crocetti said of the years-long project. “This is huge. It feels like we put a little pin on a map for folks to say ‘I want to see a monumental mosaic so I want to go to Watsonville.’ I’m so stoked. And it’s just not about me—it’s about so many talented people that have come together.”

The mosaic, installed on the walls of the six-floor parking structure at West Beach and Rodriguez streets, features cultural images from around the world including indigenous people and the many cultures that make up the Pajaro Valley.

The Society of American Mosaic Artists (SAMA) and the Stained Glass Association of America (SGAA) will be presenting the exhibition Sept. 1-30. They selected 38 works from more than 120 submitted by the SAMA and SGAA members.

The exhibition series is comprised of two segments: Fine Art and Site-Specific & Architectural Art, and includes a special exhibit by Redmond, Ore. artist, Kate Kerrigan.

“The exhibition elevates new perspectives of mosaic art, stained glass and architectural art in numerous contexts and celebrates established as well as emerging artists working in these traditional mediums today,” reads a statement on the exhibit’s website. “All segments combined represent 35 artists from throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and South Africa.”

Crocetti said she now plans to fly to New York for a conference at the exhibit Sept. 27.

“Both stained glass and mosaic communities are united by a spirit of generosity, driven to create for others,” the website reads. “This exhibition sparks a dialogue about our mediums and how artists aspire to aid community healing and renewal.”

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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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