Figures among the fronds

“Sun Burst” by Boulder Creek artists Scott Graham and Cristy Aloysi is now on display at Sierra Azul Nursery and Garden. (Johanna Miller/Register-Pajaronian)

Sierra Azul hosts annual sculpture exhibition

WATSONVILLE—For the past 13 years, Sierra Azul Nursery has invited artists to showcase their work among the trees and flowers that make up its 2-acre demonstration garden.

“Sculpture Is: In the Garden” is a collaborative exhibit by Sierra Azul and Pajaro Valley Arts. It was created after artist Moto Ohtake expressed his concern that his piece might not be accurately displayed inside the small Pajaro Valley Gallery on Sudden Street.

PV Arts was able to secure a grant from the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County to make “Sculpture Is” an annual event. The exhibit’s five-month-long run has become a tradition for the community, and continues to grow in size and scope.

“It’s amazing to see what these artists come up with,” said Exhibit Coordinator Hedwig Heerschop. “I just wonder how they get all these ideas.”

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ABOVE: “Come Together” is a ceramic, wood and steel piece by Aptos artist Ingrid Marianne. (Johanna Miller/Register-Pajaronian)

This year, jurors Susana Arias, Jamie Abbott and Sierra Azul owners Jeff and Lisa Rosendale selected about 100 sculptures by artists and collaborators. Most of the artists are local—from the Pajaro Valley to Bonny Doon—but a handful are from as far away as Palo Alto and Sunnyvale.

Pieces range from concrete and steel to clay and fiberglass. One piece, created by artist April Zilber with fused glass and metal, is interactive—one can use a small mallet to hit panels and hear musical tones.

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ABOVE: Exhibit Coordinator Hedwig Heerschop demonstrates how to play artist April Zilber’s musical installation at Sierra Azul Nursery and Garden. (Johanna Miller/Register-Pajaronian)

Artist Lyn MacDonald, who moved to the area from Boston two years ago, has a few pieces on exhibit this year, including “Prickly Pear Person,” made from bottle caps, zip ties and pieces of faucets, and a large version of the Cheshire Cat peeking out from its perch on a tree branch.

“When I first saw this space, I was floored,” MacDonald said. “I fell in love with it. What a fantastic place to show art.”

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ABOVE: This Cheshire Cat from "Alice in Wonderland" was created by artist Lyn MacDonald and is now on display at Sierra Azul Nursery and Garden. (Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)

“Sculpture Is” opened on June 1 and will run until the end of October. Sierra Azul invites the community to come with a picnic lunch and enjoy the art. School groups are also welcome with advance notice.

“We had a woman here on Sunday who came with her daughter from Concord,” Heerschop recalled. “She was 99 years old, walking around and just delighted to be here. That’s what we like to see.”

For information on “Sculpture Is” visit pvarts.org and sierraazul.com.

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