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Carmina Eliason, Curator


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Watsonville Cannery Strike Community Commemoration and Art Exhibit Opening


                July 22, 2008, WATSONVILLE, CA – Twenty years after the end of a labor struggle that changed the face of Watsonville, the community is coming together to remember and celebrate the events that lead to greater respect for workers and Latinos in the Pajaro Valley. The strike, which lasted 18 months between 1985 and 1987 and tore a bitter rift through the community, was eventually won by workers who forced a change of ownership at the canneries and were offered a new contract, which they approved.

                 The celebration is being kicked off in the Watsonville Downtown Plaza on Friday, August 1 from 2-6:30pm, where Watsonville’s Viernes Cultural will collaborate with the Remembering the Struggle exhibit to hold an afternoon of mural-making, music, song, and poetry from local artists in addition to invited speakers.

                 From there, the public is invited to join in a procession, led by strikers, to the Pajaro Valley Gallery, located on 37 Sudden Street, where the Remembering the Struggle art exhibit will hold a reception at 7pm honoring the strikers and artists who are participating in the gallery exhibition. Everyone is invited to partake in a “taste of Watsonville” with free food donated by local restaurants, including Hector’s Bakery and Swingtime Café.

                 The art exhibit will remain free and open to the public at the Pajaro Valley Gallery from July 30th until September 21st. Artists from around the nation will be showing works, many of which were used by strikers for promotional materials or were created by artists observing the strike activities. The exhibit includes many local artists including Jose Santana, Lucien Kubo, and Laura Ortiz Spiegel. Other prominent artists include Juan Fuentes and Bob Fitch.


Event Details

  • Date: Friday, August 1st, 2008
  • Location and Times:
    • 2pm: Youth Mural Workshop with Jose Ortiz at Watsonville Downtown Plaza
    • 5pm: Viernes Cultural Celebration at Watsonville Downtown Plaza
    • 6:30pm: Procession starts from Plaza to Gallery
    • 7pm: Exhibit Opening Reception at Pajaro Valley Gallery 37 Sudden Street, Watsonville, CA 95076
  • Admission: All events are free
  • Presented by: Pajaro Valley Arts Council and Viernes Cultural
  • Title: Remembering the Struggle: Understanding the Watsonville Cannery Strike through Art


Press Images

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Laura Ortiz-Spiegel

Hermanas de la Trensa

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Juan Fuentes

Margaret's Day

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