Interior DesignMosaic Art

Watsonville Brillante Mosaic Project Gets A Prestigious Award

(4 min read) The massive and amazingly intricate, 10-phase outdoor Watsonville Brillante mosaic project has been named Best in Show in the Mosaic and Glass Arts International 2023 exhibition held in Buffalo, New York. The Society of American Mosaic Artists (SAMA) and the Stained Glass Association of America (SGAA) will present the exhibition series throughout September.

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Large-scale mosaics designed by the renowned artist, Juan Fuentes, part of the Watsonville Brillante. Image source: Link  

Huge public garages are the necessary evil of the modern world and are usually uniform, generic markers of every city. However, the six-floor structure gracing the West Beach and Rodriguez streets is an entirely different animal. Its facade features “larger than life” mosaic artworks depicting indigenous people and various cultures that make up the Parajo Valley. Watsonville Brillante basically represents this diverse city’s entire cultural heritage, so it is no wonder that it is considered to be the most ambitious public art project in the history of Santa Cruz County. 

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Streetview of the amazing facade featuring colorful mosaic artwork. Image source: Link  

“When I first proposed Watsonville Brillante I wanted to make Santa Cruz County a mosaic artist destination, a place where people come intentionally to see mosaics like they might go to Barcelona to see Gaudi.”, says Kathleen Crocetti, the lead artist. “This is huge. It feels like we put a little pin on the map for folks to say “I want to see a monumental mosaic, so I want to go to Watsonville.”

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Kathleen Crocetti working on one of the mosaic installments for the Watsonville Brillante project. Image source: Link  

The Brillante project is the result of the efforts of hundreds of hardworking local volunteers and generous donors. However, the person who envisioned the whole project and started it all is Kathleen Crocetti, a Santa Cruz middle school teacher and beloved Watsonville resident. She launched the five-year project back in 2019 and managed to elevate the Chicano-style printmaking artwork of prolific well-known artist Fuentes, Watsonville’s colorful quilt of ethnicities, and the art of mosaic making all at once.

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“The Flower Grower”, one of the glorious murals created by Juan Fuentes, for the Watsonville Brillante mosaic project. Image source: Link  

SAMA and SGAA members submitted more than 120 artworks that were taken into consideration for the exhibition series. After careful deliberation, 38 were chosen to participate in the prestigious exhibition. The exhibition itself is comprised of two distinctive segments: Fine Art and Site-Specific & Architectural Art. The event also includes a special exhibit by the famous Oregon mosaic artist, Kate Kerrgan. 

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Horizontal mosaic panels depicting artwork from Finland and the Tudor Rose from the United Kingdom, part of the Watsonville Brillante plans for 2023. Image source: Link  

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The mosaic panel depicting Watsonville Main Street with the plaza on the left, part of the Watsonville Brillante. Image source: Link  

“The exhibition elevates new perspectives of mosaic art, stained glass, and architectural art in numerous contexts and celebrates established as well as emerging artists working in this traditional medium today,” says the statement on the official website of the exhibit. “All segments combined represent 35 artists from throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and South Africa.”

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“Hermantia” mosaic artwork, also designed by the amazing Juan Fuentes. Image source: Link  

Watsonville Brillante mosaic project is not just a mere embellishment of an otherwise unremarkable public structure. Its stunning mosaics represent the soul of the city and speak volumes of our art and its diverse heritage. Congratulations! 

Mosaic_Mural_Artwork - Mosaic_Murals - Mosaic_Art
Watsonville Brillante Mosaic Project Gets A Prestigious Award.

Mosaic_Mural_Artwork - Mosaic_Murals - Mosaic_Art
Watsonville Brillante Mosaic Project Gets A Prestigious Award.

Mosaic_Mural_Artwork - Mosaic_Murals - Mosaic_Art
Watsonville Brillante Mosaic Project Gets A Prestigious Award.

Mosaic_Mural_Artwork - Mosaic_Murals - Mosaic_Art
Watsonville Brillante Mosaic Project Gets A Prestigious Award.

Mosaic_Mural_Artwork - Mosaic_Murals - Mosaic_Art
Watsonville Brillante Mosaic Project Gets A Prestigious Award.

Mosaic_Mural_Artwork - Mosaic_Murals - Mosaic_Art
Watsonville Brillante Mosaic Project Gets A Prestigious Award.




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M. Belosh

M. Belosh

Passionate art enthusiast; avid reader (you can find me on Goodreads under the same name); movie connoisseur; intolerable before my morning coffee.


  1. Sam Rakovich
    September 6, 2023 at 11:36 am — Reply

    These are amazing and no wonder they got a reward very well deserved

  2. Beth
    September 6, 2023 at 12:55 pm — Reply

    If anything is deserving of a reward like this, it’s the Watsonville project. It is truly epic.

  3. Ben
    September 6, 2023 at 1:17 pm — Reply

    I love what they’re doing to showcase how amazing mosaic art is. It’s so much more than backsplashes!

  4. Mrs. Malik
    September 7, 2023 at 4:21 am — Reply

    Wow that is such a stunning parking garage, and I never thought I’d say that. The mosaics really turn it into a focal point x

  5. Lisa
    September 7, 2023 at 8:06 am — Reply

    The mosaics are so mesmerising. I never heard of this project but it looks amazing. Well done!

  6. Jenny Cruz
    September 7, 2023 at 9:43 am — Reply

    Wow! Happy to hear that WATSONVILLE BRILLANTE MOSAIC PROJECT GETS A PRESTIGIOUS AWARD. They really deserved it!

  7. JRC
    September 7, 2023 at 10:22 am — Reply

    Cute pins! This blog post showed me a different type of artistry- mosaics. Everyone pictured looks passionate about what they do.

  8. Luke S.
    September 7, 2023 at 10:34 am — Reply

    I can only imagine how long a big piece like that would take to complete. It looks amazing & deserves an award!

  9. Tanya Brain
    September 7, 2023 at 12:23 pm — Reply

    Wow, what an incredible achievement! The Watsonville Brillante mosaic project truly brings art to life on a grand scale and celebrates the rich cultural heritage of the Parajo Valley. A well-deserved recognition for such an ambitious and beautiful public art project.

  10. Terry
    September 7, 2023 at 12:42 pm — Reply

    How do people even get up that high to create such artwork?! I have a fear of heights but my goodness how beautiful. What a project and a joy to walk by and come across that.

  11. Dryana
    September 7, 2023 at 7:06 pm — Reply

    What an interesting project! I learn something new from your blog posts.

  12. Rosey
    September 8, 2023 at 8:14 am — Reply

    I think a parking garage is a brilliant place to display art. So long as it’s appealing or interesting and not an eye sore. These are fantastic!

  13. krystle cook
    September 8, 2023 at 8:59 am — Reply

    I love how they dress up public spaces with this type of art. It makes them feel more personal and fun.

  14. Gennifer Rose
    September 8, 2023 at 11:40 am — Reply

    Wow! Those mosaic murals have so much detail and high quality work!

  15. Suka Berry
    September 8, 2023 at 1:06 pm — Reply

    What a refreshing perspective on public garages! The Watsonville Brillante garage’s commitment to showcasing the rich cultural tapestry of Parajo Valley is truly commendable. It’s heartening to see such an ambitious public art project that celebrates diversity and heritage. It not only adds beauty to the city but also tells a compelling story about its people. Kudos to Santa Cruz County for this creative and meaningful endeavor!

  16. Jenny
    September 8, 2023 at 4:03 pm — Reply

    These large-scale mosaics are amazing, so pleased to hear that they have won an award.

  17. Rose
    September 8, 2023 at 6:45 pm — Reply

    These mosaics are gorgeous! Great write up!

  18. Jennifer
    September 9, 2023 at 12:54 am — Reply

    I love street art and the Watsonville Brillante mosaic project looks amazing!

  19. Samantha Laycock
    September 9, 2023 at 11:46 am — Reply

    These are just incredible. I am always amazed with how artists can turn something like a building into a piece of art. Just stunning!

  20. adriana
    September 9, 2023 at 4:21 pm — Reply

    That’s an amazing award and wow these are just so beautiful! I love the look of them. Definitely an amazing form of art! Thanks for sharing!

  21. Paul
    September 9, 2023 at 5:08 pm — Reply

    Congratulations on the well-deserved award for the Watsonville Brillante Mosaic Project! It’s fantastic to see such recognition for your hard work and dedication. Keep up the excellent work, and I look forward to hearing more about your future achievements.

  22. Lyosha Varezhkina
    September 9, 2023 at 6:30 pm — Reply

    So elegant and so beautiful. I am truly impressed with it. So beautiful

  23. Michie Brooks
    September 10, 2023 at 7:00 am — Reply

    Your article was not only informative but also deeply inspiring. The way you described the intricate work, dedication, and artistic vision behind this project truly resonated with me.

  24. Catherine
    September 10, 2023 at 6:07 pm — Reply

    Wow! The Watsonville project definitely deserved an award. It’s beautiful!

  25. Claudia Krusch
    September 11, 2023 at 12:51 pm — Reply

    I loved seeing all the projects! So much beauty and color in them!

  26. June
    September 12, 2023 at 4:26 am — Reply

    This is such an important cultural project – that really sounds rooted in community! Thank you for sharing about it – the art is lovely too!

  27. Becky
    September 17, 2023 at 7:23 pm — Reply

    wow! That’s really impressive. Almost worth traveling just to see it.

  28. Em.
    September 18, 2023 at 10:03 am — Reply

    These pieces of art are breathtaking! Pretty impressive that they were able to narrow down the winners to 38 from 120, I’m sure it wasn’t easy to pick.

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