WATSONVILLE — Linda Martin is taking her lifetime appreciation of the arts and expertise in nonprofit organizations and using them to lead Pajaro Valley Arts.
Martin was hired as the organization’s executive director in mid-October, becoming the first to hold the position in decades.
Earlier in 2018, PVA’s Administrative Director Sharon O’Neil relocated out of the area, and the organization’s board decided to expand the role into an executive director position.
A longtime visitor to PVA’s gallery on Sudden Street, Martin said she heard about the job opportunity from a friend and decided to throw her hat in the ring.
“I’ve always enjoyed the arts, education and creativity,” she said. “It just seemed like a great fit.”
ABOVE: "Bird Talk" is an acrylic painting by Watsonville Artist Sefla Joseph.
Martin, a Watsonville resident, earned a bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology from UC Davis and a master’s in marine science from San Jose State University. She has served as a founding board member for a number of nonprofits, and also worked with the Monterey Bay Aquarium for 15 years.
Martin said she wants to help the organization continue and expand its educational outreach events. Among its programs, PVA hosts tours of its galleries free of charge for local schools.
In addition, last year the organization debuted its Movable Murals project, which consists of four large-scale works of art mounted on the front of the old city hall building on 250 Main St.
PVA also aims to connect community members with larger social issues, Martin said, and its future exhibit, “Vote! Your Vote is Your Voice / ¡Vote! Su Voto es Su Voz,” opening April 3, will highlight voting rights.
Martin said she recently met with city officials to brainstorm ways to make Watsonville a destination for visitors.
“The brighter we can shine, the more that can be shared with the larger world,” she said. “People will realize, “let’s go to Watsonville. Let’s go to the Wine, Beer and Art Walk.’”
PVA is gearing up for its first exhibit of 2019, the annual “Take Aways: Art To Go!”, opening Jan. 23. An opening reception is set for Jan. 27 from 2-4 p.m. at the gallery on 37 Sudden St.
Sixty-six local artists working in a variety of media have filled the gallery with more than 850 works. As a fundraiser for PVA, the show is known for its relatively affordable, smaller pieces of art, where viewers can purchase a piece and take it home with them the same day.
Once their work is purchased, the artist will then fill the spot with another piece, creating a rotating exhibit.
“Every day the show is changing,” Martin said. “You can come one day and see everything, and come the next day and there will be new pieces up.”
ABOVE: Watsonville artist Bonni Carver entered several works in the exhibit, including this watercolor, "Phuket Seaside" (Thailand).
Exhibit Coordinator Hedwig Heerschop said the popular annual show constantly draws repeat visitors throughout its two-month duration.
“The fun part is that the show changes,” she said. “For the beginning collector, this is the place to be.”
“Take Aways: Art To Go!” opens Jan. 23 and runs through March 10. An opening reception is set for Jan. 27 from 2-4 p.m. at the gallery on 37 Sudden St., and a closing reception will be held on March 10 from 2-4 p.m., featuring a raffle drawing of donated pieces at 3:30 p.m.
For information, visit pajarovalleyartscouncil.org or call 722-3062.