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Porter Building

To achieve our vision and goals to better serve our community, we have purchased the 12,000 square foot Porter Building at 280 Main Street, which will enable us to deepen our reach into the community. Thank you for your ongoing support that helped us get here!

PVA has gone from a quiet neighborhood gallery to a vibrant community asset, worthy of a location more conducive to a broader range of arts and humanities related programming. As an organization, we have outgrown our current space of approximately 1,200 square feet on Sudden Street.

PVA’s vision for the Porter Building is to provide an inclusive, safe, and professional space where the Santa Cruz County community can create and share their creativity, culture, and history.

At the Porter Building we will:

  • Provide a vibrant accessible, centrally located, community gathering place
  • Provide space for Pajaro Valley artists to make, perform, and promote their art
  • Develop workshop, classroom, and performance opportunities relating to arts and humanities for children, adults, families, and seniors
  • Continue to support and expand arts educational programs with PVUSD
  • Become financially independent by owning a space that will allow us to generate more sources of operating income and be less reliant upon individual donations and grants

Please partner with us in achieving these goals and donate!


Operations during the build-out of the Porter Building will continue, uninterrupted, at the 37 Sudden Street gallery. The expansion of our operations and programming into the Porter building will require investments in additional staffing, as well as increased maintenance, insurance, and utility costs. Operating and personnel costs will be offset by generating program revenue. Our timeline includes moving into the space in 2025 with revenue potentials achieved by 2027.

Acquisition of Porter Building

Over a three-year period, PVA negotiated the cash purchase of the Porter Building from the City of Watsonville for the fair market value of $1,150,00. Funded by an individual donation and a $540,000 grant from the Hewlett Foundation, administered by Community Vision Capital and Consulting. No debt is carried on the property.

The Porter Building, on the corner of Main and Maple Streets divides the historic and civic districts of Watsonville. Built in 1903, designed by William Week and first used as a Post Office, the Porter Building has seen many uses over the years. It has survived floods as well as the historic earthquake of 1989 (with a substantial retrofit performed by the City of Watsonville). The most recent use of the building (vacated in 2015) was as college preperatory school, and was ADA compliant through that period). Prior to the purchase, PVA contracted out for building (condition), environmental and ADA inspections and reports.

Required Improvements: In order to activate the Porter Building for the anticipated uses we need to do a number of renovations. Improvements to the building, based upon architectural use plans, have been estimated at $1.3 million. We recognize that there will be additional unanticipated building costs, as well as the cost of equipping and stocking workshops, retail, and performing arts/meeting spaces and establishing and maintaining building maintenance reserve fund. We have set a goal of raising $1.5-$2 million through a combination of grants and individual donations to offset these costs. The final dollar goal of the building campaign will be dependent upon grant availability.

Proposed Programs and Services: PVA will continue to provide our outstanding existing programming and will be utilizing our expanded space to generate increased revenue streams through studio rentals; workshops; art sales; retail sales; and performing and meeting space rentals. We believe we have been conservative in our revenue estimates regarding space rental and retail sales and recognize that the workshop programming revenue may take longer to build.

Please partner with us in achieving these goals and donate!

Letters in support of PVA proposal for Porter Building (pdf file)