While the Pajaro Valley Arts gallery in Watsonville has remained shuttered during the ongoing shelter-in-place order, its staff and members continue to find ways to stay creative.
This has included expanding the organization’s social media presence and moving its latest exhibit, “Campesinos: Workers Of the Land” to a virtual format.
Earlier this month, Pajaro Valley Arts (PVA) took things a step further, launching a new community gallery on their website called Create-In-Place! The gallery features artwork, writing, textile, jewelry, music and performance that members of the community have made during shelter-in-place.
PVA Executive Director Linda Martin had the idea for the gallery.
“The idea came to me not long after shelter-in-place began,” Martin says. “Seeing how people will come up with projects and ideas, in order to deal with being stuck at home. How art can help them out. We [at PVA] get a lot of joy out of seeing what other people’s creativity looks like.”
The online gallery has continued to grow, now hosting close to 100 pieces ranging from short films to watercolor paintings, from both professional and amateur artists of all ages.
PVA allows participants to pick the theme of their piece—it could relate to the current global pandemic, or not. A series of comic panels drawn by artist Lindsay Johnson depict a family of green dinosaur-like creatures dealing with shelter-in-place; learning to sew masks, cut their own hair and staying calm during the crisis.
Other works lean away from the subject: nature photography, collages, portraits. A short documentary about bears was made and shared by Lois Robin.
Create-In-Place! is open to anyone. People can submit photos (jpeg files), audio or video (mp4 files) to PVA. The organization asks participants to include their name, the title of their piece, its medium and dimensions.
PVA is looking ahead. Exhibit Coordinator Hedwig Heerschop says that the organization’s 14th annual “Sculpture Is: In the Garden” exhibit will go on despite its postponement. Sculptures will start to be installed at Sierra Azul Nursery’s demonstration gardens in the next week. The exhibit will open July 1 and run through October 31. Face masks and social distancing will be required, Heerschop added.
In addition, PVA is moving forward with its annual Members’ Exhibition in whatever way it can.
“We will open [our gallery] when we feel it’s safe,” Martin says. “Meanwhile, we want to continue … to promote creativity in the community.”
Anyone interested in participating in Create-In-Place! can submit their work by emailing [email protected].