…. this verse slightly altered from a song I once sang with my choir comes to my mind being around Kathleen Crocetti and her mosaic projects in Watsonville. Her dream is to make Watsonville the Barcelona of California together with the young community of the 50.000 inhabitants of a small agriculture town situated in the fertile back garden of Monterey Bay/California. A lot of nutrition is produced and exported here on large farms with immigrants hands. Strawberries, lettuce, artichokes, apples you name it have been tended to since over 100 years by many groups of immigrant workers. Some stayed. At the moment 85% of Watsonville’s population is of Mexican heritage. Still the average income here is a quarter less than that of near by Santa Cruz/CA. The difference in between pitoresque coast dwellings like Monterey or Carmel and Watsonville is striking on first sight. In the coast cities individual wealth designs beautiful cost homes and inviting shop fronts and brings in enough tax money to make sturdy wooden public walkways with views of the beautiful coast.
But watch it: in Watsonville the COMMUNITY gets together to beautify their environment with mosaic art. Yesterday I was fortunate to be present at the ribbon cutting ceremony of a butterfly sculpture decorated with two types of mosaic. This is Watsonville’s memorial for their citizens that died of COVID 19. Much harder hit than other areas the city is mourning until now 105 death coursed by the pandemic.
Kathleen Crocetti, the mosaic artist, bidding for the public grant went to speak to several community members that lost beloved ones. In conversation with the community the symbol of the butterfly was found. The butterfly is representing life that transcends into death in Mexican culture. As a senior public artist Kathleen took young artist Monica Galvan on board to introduce her to the skills of public art.
The two worked each on one side of the sculpture, Kathleen in shiny glass mosaic and Monica handmade more than one thousand marigold flower heads in tile and offered the public in several open sessions to place one for a family member or friend that they are mourning. They had a good outcome of participation.
I consider myself very fortunate to have helped finishing the butterfly sculpture on Tuesday this week. It was touching to hear the overall positive comments of the passerby’s whilst we were on our knees grouting and cleaning the Marigold flower tiles.
As I am finally interning with the “community art and empowerment” project I will write more about this little town of Watsonville that is shining through it’s collectively crafted mosaics. Keep watching out for more stories on my blog!