Watsonville Public Library
2019, Watsonville Public Library, Watsonville, CA, USA
Watsonville, CA, USA
14 x 12 feet
All products for installation are Laticrete products: water barrier sealant, a cement substrate patch, thin set and grout, and sealant.
The tiles are all 2″ porcelain square tiles from DalTile.
The small text on the pages of the book were sandblasted, then the blasted grooves were painted with an oil based enamel.
Kathleen Crocetti is an artist and community art activist. She has a BA from Mary Washington College, and an MFA from Vermont College. Crocetti works in a variety of mediums including stone, paper, clay, wood, plaster, metal, encaustic, neon, glass and mosaics. Crocetti uses her wide array of mediums in her teaching, her studio practice and her public art.
“Art is a non-verbal form of communication; most artists get to choose the topic they feel like communicating, this is not so with the public artist. As a public artist we are called upon to create visual identifiers for a community. We cannot help but reflect the times we live in, which makes creating public art a complex, complicated and at times a difficult-to-navigate process.”
The Watsonville Public Library, like all public art projects had its challenges. The library had carpet in front of the elevators doors that was stained and buckling in places where it was no longer glued to the floor. This was a deferred maintenance problem that was going to be deferred again. Additionally, the City’s new marketing campaign meant the librarians had to adopt the City Seal and could no longer use their beloved logo.
The librarians also had a looming deadline, a new City Arts Commission was being formed, and once it was formed they would lose control over any public art they wanted to install in the library. They quickly raised the funds and hired Kathleen to create a mosaic floor using their logo.
This created two big problems before the work could even begin. First, Kathleen had to explain that the logo was the wrong dimensions for the space and that it would clash with the Millard Sheets reproduced mural on the wall. She gained permission to “frame the logo” with art that would make a good transition between the wall and the floor. Then, Kathleen set about un-ruffling feathers by facilitating a behind the scenes conversation between the Head Librarian and the City Manager. Kathleen’s re-design was loved by the librarians, and approved by the City. The City was happy to get both a deferred maintenance problem taken care of with no out of pocket costs and a new public art they were excited about. Now all Kathleen had to do was get to work!
A public artist can’t be just a good artist, they have to be good communicators and negotiators too.