(Susanna Waddell, gallery committee chair at Pajaro Valley Arts, inspects the latest installation, "Mariposa," by Dionicio Mendoza. The work is part of a new exhibit at Pajaro Valley Arts, "Hablamos Juntos/Together We Speak, Un Diálogo Visual/A Visual Dialogue." Photo by Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)
WATSONVILLE — Pajaro Valley Arts is currently preparing for its upcoming exhibit, “Hablamos Juntos/Together We Speak: Un Diálogo Visual/A Visual Dialogue,” opening Aug. 8.
A collaboration with both the Young Writers Program and Museo Eduardo Carillo, the exhibit will showcase a number of prominent Latinx artists from across California, including eight local artists from the Monterey Bay Area.
The “Hablamos Juntos” project first began in 2015. PV Arts had worked with Museo Eduardo Carillo on a series of posters, each highlighting a different artist and one of their pieces. The Young Writers Program helped to develop curriculum surrounding the posters.
At Watsonville’s “Hablamos Juntos” Art Walk in 2016, people were able to view the posters, and that’s when interest was piqued about putting together an actual exhibit.
“What we noticed was when people saw the banners, many of them wanted to see the original works,” said Judy Stabile, artist mentor for the exhibit. “We knew then that we wanted to bring those pieces into the community, and further develop the poster project.”
Hedwig Heerschop prepares to hang a woodcut titled "Ohlone Dancer" by Juan R. Fuentes. Photo by Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian
Supported in part by a $15,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts through its Art Works program, the exhibit is presented in partnership with the San Jose Museum of Art’s New Terrains project.
Twenty artists will be on display at “Hablamos Juntos,” showcasing everything from sculptures to glass work and paintings. One piece, according to Stabile, was so heavy that installers needed to reinforce one of the gallery’s walls just to be safe.
“There is definitely a diversity of medium here,” Stabile laughed.
One important objective of the show, Stabile said, was to begin a dialogue about Latinx communities in the U.S. — their past, present and future.
“It is a celebration of culture,” Stabile said. “This is a population who have consistently been marginalized in our society. Through their art, they can tell their own stories.”
The educational aspect of the “Hablamos Juntos” project is key, Stabile explained, with the gallery developing more curriculum to give teachers and students prior to coming to view the art. Introducing Watsonville’s Latinx students to the artists in particular was important for PV Arts, she said.
“We hope this will give kids who visit the gallery some role models they can relate to within the art world,” she said. “That representation is really important.”
“Hablamos Juntos/Together We Speak: Un Diálogo Visual/A Visual Dialogue” opens Aug. 8 and runs through Oct. 7. An opening reception is planned for Sunday, Aug. 12 from 2-4 p.m., and a special panel discussion will be held on Saturday, Sept. 15 at Watsonville Civic Plaza. Curators Juan R. Fuentes and Michelle P. Mouton will give a tour of the exhibit on Sunday, Sept. 16 from 2-3 p.m.
Pajaro Valley Arts is located at 37 Sudden St., Watsonville. For information, call 722-3062 or visit pvarts.org.
Work is underway to hang various art pieces, including the art of Lorraine Garcia (below) and Pablo Cristi. Photo by Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian