Summer 2021 | Santa Cruz County Parks

14 • Parks, Open Space & Cultural Services ARTS PROGRAMS & ACTIVITIES artist OF THE YEAR Guillermo “Yermo” Aranda The Santa Cruz County Arts Commission is pleased to announce that Guillermo “Yermo” Aranda will be honored for his work and contribution to the arts in Santa Cruz County in fall 2021. More details on his profile performance will be available at scparks.com in midsummer. Born and raised in National City/San Diego, California, Guillermo “Yermo” Aranda comes from a family of artists, craftsman, and musicians. Within a year after arriving in Watsonville in 1983, Yermo began to practice and teach Aztec dance and co-founded the White Hawk Dancers, a cultural arts organization providing Visual and Performing Arts Workshops for youth. In 1985, the first “Xilonen” ceremony on the West Coast was held. This gathering of Aztec dancers continues to this day, the second weekend of July. In 1995, ten White Hawk dancers went to Shingu, Japan as part of the Sister Cities program, where they danced at the World Exposition in Wakayama. Yermo’s contributions to the White Hawk Dancers has always been on a volunteer basis, and its focus has always been the youth of our communities. Yermo helps youth develop their artistic skills, utilizing murals as the means to involve youth in the arts. He has over 80 murals in the Santa Cruz and Monterey County areas, all youth projects. Currently he teaches art and the process of mural painting, locally and throughout the State of California, working with elementary students in Northern California and inmates in a California state penitentiary. Over the years, Aranda has been commissioned and sponsored by a host of agencies and organizations, including the California Arts Council, Cultural Council of Santa Cruz County, Santa Cruz County Arts Commission, Santa Cruz County Office of Education, Community Foundation Santa Cruz County, Mexican American Community Services Agency of San Jose, and the City of San Diego. Among the awards Yermo has received are a Gail Rich Award in 1997, Watsonville YMCA’s Community Racial Justice Heroes Award in 1999, A Community Heroes Recognition from Santa Cruz County and the Santa Cruz Sentinel, and in 2000, a Jackie Kennedy Award from TV 8, Salinas. To learn about Yermo’s most recent project, as well as how you can donate to the effort to make and distribute a feature film about Yermo, please visit https://pajaronian.com/restoration-of-iconic-watsonville-high-mural-begins. Photo: Tarmo Hannula

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