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. She 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.
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
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. She 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.
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 is continuing her education at the University of Santa Cruz where she hopes to receive her Bachelor’s Degree in History of Art and Visual Culture. Her current focus and research is 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.
Board of Directors
Trina Coffman-Gomez – President-Treasurer
Jessica Carrasco – Vice President-Secretary
Shirley Flores Munoz
Ana Paula Prado Teeple
Vanessa Quiroz-Carter – City of Watsonville Representative
Mary Jo Dunn-Ruiz
Ana Paula Prado Teeple
Education Outreach Coordinator