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Ushering in a New Era: Miriam Anton's Vision for Pajaro Valley Arts
LeadershipNewsWatsonville Arts
byMercedes LewisonMay 2, 2024

Ushering in a New Era: Miriam Anton's Vision for Pajaro Valley Arts

Pajaro Valley Arts (PVA) is gearing up for an exciting transformation as it prepares to renovate and move into its new home at the historic Porter Building in downtown Watsonville. At the helm of this pivotal moment is Miriam Anton, PVA's new Executive Director.

With an extensive background in business development, DEI initiatives, and a lifelong passion for the arts, Miriam is brimming with energy and vision for guiding PVA into its next chapter as a vibrant community anchor. "I'm most excited about helping to usher in a new era and building a blueprint for the future," Miriam shares. "What really inspires me is the Watsonville and PVA community and the opportunity to connect and create new relationships while envisioning the positive impact our new home on Main Street is going to have."

Fostering Representation and Access

A top priority for Miriam is ensuring PVA celebrates Watsonville's rich Latinx cultural heritage and agricultural history. She recognizes the arts' power to improve representation. "Delivering exhibits relevant to the Latinx community and where the community can see themselves reflected is critical," Miriam explains. "Shows with this type of content and relevancy serve as a bridge to improve representation, inclusion, and access." She cites PVA's long-standing partnership with the Watsonville Film Festival as a model for elevating Latinx voices through the arts. Expanding arts education in collaboration with the Pajaro Valley Unified School District is also key.

Driving Economic Vitality

Beyond its cultural impact, Miriam sees the renovated Porter building playing a catalytic role in Watsonville's economic development through increased cultural tourism, partnerships with local businesses, and new innovative revenue streams. "Our vision is to become a destination for cultural tourism, contributing to the economic growth of Main Street," says Miriam. "With more space, we can expand opportunities like selling works by local artists, facility rentals for events, and classroom workshops." By fostering cross-sector collaborations, she aims to build a thriving, inclusive arts ecosystem. "We're all experiencing similar challenges," she notes. "Building partnerships based on shared values rather than competition will increase our collective capacity to serve the needs and interests of our communities."

A Beloved Community Asset

As Miriam looks ahead, she's struck by PVA's esteemed 40-year legacy and the community's affection for the organization, from its members and volunteers to its reputation for quality programming. "I'm so inspired by how well-loved PVA is," she says. "My first month has been a string of learnings and inspirations, and I'm eager to contribute to PVA's future while honoring its deep roots."

Through cultivating the power of the arts for transformation, Watsonville looks to create a blueprint for a sustainable, flourishing and culturally diverse arts ecosystem. With Miriam Anton's visionary leadership, Pajaro Valley Arts is poised to continue to play a key role in connecting and resourcing Watsonville's inspiring arts scene.

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