Valéria Miranda Executive Director
Valéria (“Val”) is passionate about the power of the arts and culture to change individuals, communities, and society. She has worked in and with arts organizations since 1992. Communities are central to the existence of any cultural organization and are an extremely important part of Valéria’s professional and personal life. She is passionately committed to the sustainable power of collaborations and partnerships in leveraging cultural resources. She was the Director of Education at the San Jose Museum of Art and at the Monterey Museum of Art. Valéria’s experience includes fundraising, curatorial practices, program development, management, and evaluation, and equity, diversity, and inclusion. Valéria holds a MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco. A native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Valéria’s artistic practice is in dance and visual arts. She spends lots of time in the art spaces, beaches and woods of Santa Cruz County with her 17-year old son and many friends.
Brianna Flores Office Manager
Originally from Watsonville, Brianna has always had a passion for the cultural arts and community service. After attending Watsonville High, she moved to San Francisco where she graduated from the ever vibrant San Francisco State University with degrees in Humanities and Latina/o Studies. While volunteering at a cultural arts center throughout college, the arts as a means of bringing the community together became a core value in her life’s purpose. As if life were coming full circle, her love and appreciation for the community that raised her led her back to the Pajaro Valley and to a job opening at the local art gallery. Rediscovering this place made Watsonville feel like home again. “I am a firm believer in the significant impact the arts can have on a person and the community at large. I’ve seen the potential the arts have to bridge and unify the communities I’ve lived in and I see the potential in ours now.”
Hedwig M. Heerschop Exhibit Coordinator
Dutch-American Hedwig M. Heerschop is a photographer, printmaker, educator, and curator who lives and works in Santa Cruz, California. She completed her Master of Fine Arts/Photography at San José State University, San José, California. She taught Alternative Processes in Photographic Media at San José State University. She assisted in many photography workshops with Brian Taylor, Dan Estabrook, Holly Roberts, Dan Burkholder, Harold Davis and Steve Zmak.
Hedwig curated two national exhibits for Pajaro Valley Arts, Photo Alchemy, Alternative Processes in Photographic Media, and produced two accompanying catalogs. For the last several years she is the curator of Pajaro Valley Arts’ annual exhibit, Sculpture IS: In the Garden at Sierra Azul Nursery & Gardens. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in solo and group exhibitions, including, For Queen & Country, at San José State University, San José, CA (her Master Thesis Exhibit), Breaking Boundaries, in Pingyao, China and Made in Holland, in Naarden, The Netherlands.
Many of her works are in the collection of art collectors in Europe and the Unites States of America. Currently Hedwig divides her time working as Exhibit Coordinator at Pajaro Valley Arts in Watsonville, CA., and as a printmaker/photographer at her studio’s in Aptos and Santa Cruz, CA.
Bianca Jimenez Gallery Coordinator
Born and raised in Watsonville, CA. After graduating high school, Bianca attended Cabrillo College where she was introduced and fell in love with art and art history. After two years at Cabrillo College, she received her Associates Degree in Art History. She continued her education at the University of Santa Cruz where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in History of Art and Visual Culture. Her focus and research was built around 18th and 19th century European and American paintings, with special interest in the Rococo period. Her hobbies include taking her dog to the park, knitting, reading, cooking, boxing, and watching football and UFC. She’s looking forward to showcasing her excitement and love for the arts to her community and taking the first steps into a long career in a field which she hopes will include earning a PhD.
Josefina Rocha Program Coordinator
Josefina Rocha is an artist from Watsonville, California who received her BFA degree in Fine Arts Practice at California State University, East Bay. She creates work that stems from her compassion for others and takes an interest in themes such as vulnerability, wonder, empathy, and kindness – all the while exploring their interconnectivity. As a long-time and continuous participating member of community-oriented organizations, she creates artworks that strive to weave these concepts by portraying them as an act of selfless giving through her art practice.
Josefina is an arts advocate within her community who has participated in the creation of local murals, has shown paintings in a number of galleries, has been involved in
gallery curation, has hosted a number of painting workshops within her community, and has most recently started participating in Open Studios in Watsonville.
Josefina also serves as a Teaching Artist through the Mariposa Arts Program with the Arts Council of Santa Cruz County. She teaches culturally responsive visual arts and supports social-emotional development for her students in after-school programs throughout the county. She mentors high school student teachers while they learn to teach art to elementary school students. Above all, she encourages a safe space for her community to try out their creative talents that allow them to be confident in their natural abilities, making sure they are aware that their minds are magical, inspiring, and valuable and making it known that being an artist is possible for anyone walking any
path in life.
Board of Directors
Trina Coffman-Gomez – President
Adriana Torres – Vice President
Judy Stabile – Treasurer
Norma Villaron – Treasurer/Secretary Elect
Ana Paula Prado Teeple
Casey Clark – City of Watsonville Representative
Mary Jo Dunn-Ruiz
Ana Paula Prado Teeple