The Museum of Art & History at the McPherson Center

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Santa Cruz Is in the Heart: August 30-November 24, 2013


ThreeSistersHighMAH (518x800)Local historian, writer, and filmmaker Geoffrey Dunn’s rich and eclectic narratives are the foundation for this exhibition. Developed in conjunction with Dunn’s soon-to-be-published second edition of his book, Santa Cruz is in the Heart, this immersive exhibition will focus on contested and counter-histories, the diversity of Santa Cruz history, and the nobility of a simple life. Some of the stories included are:

  • Marion Hollins: A Jazz Age success story. How does one woman live the rest of her life when the party is over?
  • Malio Stagnaro:  Iconic patriarch of the old Santa Cruz-Italian fishing colony (and Dunn’s great-uncle) “forgets” to tell the story of how he beat future literary giant John Steinbeck at a high school track meet.
  • Old Chepa: Known as the infamous Indian beggar of late 19th century Santa Cruz, Josefa Perez Soto lived a much different life than the one presented about her in her later years.
  • Don Yee: Purveyor of the legendary Teacup bar in downtown Santa Cruz muses about what happens literally and metaphorically after the “last call.”
  • Three Sisters: Dunn’s mother and sisters are the basis of this story of familial duty and the secrets that bind them.
  • Freddy Alnas: Even in the face of prejudice and unthinkable discrimination, one man’s modest life is a testament to success and how we measure it.


Based on personal memories and thoughtful research, Santa Cruz is in the Heart explores how we tell our stories and the secrets we want to keep.