Community is Collective Care

Stroll through this outdoor exhibition to imagine individual and collective pathways toward healing with artist Irene Juárez O’Connell.

Artboard 1

September 4, 2020 - July 14, 2021

The Secret Garden
Behind the MAH & Abbott Square


What does community health and wellness look like?

In these pandemic times, the topic of health is on everyone's mind. But physical health is only a part of the puzzle. To see the whole picture, we need to look at a larger network of holistic care. A community of collective care rooted in empathy, equity, accountability, and mutual support. Developed in collaboration with artist Irene Juárez O’Connell, this outdoor exhibition invites you to imagine individual and collective pathways toward healing.

Easily accessed via Pacific Avenue and Cooper Street in Downtown Santa Cruz, the exhibition is tucked behind the MAH and Abbott Square. The Secret Garden which has hosted many parties, craft nights, and interactive exhibitions in the past, has transformed again to host the exhibition's vibrant mural and a robust resource center. Amongst the greenery and eye-catching artwork, you will find a broad range of Santa Cruz County specific resources. For easier access and sharing, we have also linked these same resources below.

Community is Collective Care is part of a year-long series of programs aimed at supporting our community through this time of crisis. Together we can heal and learn to work toward creating a community where everyone can flourish. Be the first to know about upcoming events or opportunities by signing up for our email list here.

Upcoming Events

Join our new online series celebrating the themes and people featured within Community is Collective Care.

Together with MAH Outreach Coordinator, Helen Aldana, and Santa Cruz County art, wellness, and healing practitioners we'll learn how the healing of yourself and others is an act of social justice.

This series will be hosted on Zoom throughout March, April, and May and is free to attend or a $5 suggested donation.

Community Conversations (CoCo) Series

  • Thursday, March 4, 12-1:30pm | Communication as Care with UCSC Restorative JusticeRegister Here
  • Thursday, March 18, 6-7:30pm | Honoring Ancestral Gifts with Luna LeoRegister Here
  • Friday, April 2, 12-1:30pm | Envisioning and Creating Change with Ooli Crowbear – Register Here
  • Friday, April 16, 6-7:30pm | Acts of Service with Sam CunninghamRegister Here
  • May TBD | Respiramos Juntos con Yoga for All Movement – (Sign-up Coming Soon)

Meet the Artist

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Muralist, Program Manager for Food What?!

Irene Juarez O’Connell

Read Bio

Community Fridge & Creativity Kits

Community is collective care

Fridge Guidelines: Give Some, Take Some

  • Take what you need. Leave what you don’t.
  • NO raw meat. NO open food containers. NO expired food.
  • Label and date all foods.
  • Older Items to the Front, newer items to the back.
  • Don’t fill up the fridge with all of one item, spread it out to other fridges.

This community fridge was painted by local Artist Dennis Scott. The images act as a visual reminder of the overwhelming amount of humanity we have for each other when times are tough.

Free Creativity Kits

Next to the fridge, you will find free creativity kits made with art materials from the museum’s education program. The projects are varied and will change throughout the months. If you are in need of materials please take one and leave the rest for others to enjoy.

Recorded interview with Irene Juárez O’Connell and those featured in her mural, Sana, Sana: We Heal Together

Community Resources

If you're unable to visit the exhibition in person don't worry, you can still access all the resources and information below.

Community Healthcare & COVID-19 Resources

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Everyone deserves access to health care. But systematic barriers and bureaucracy can make it difficult to get the care you need. During these pandemic times, it is critical to advocate for the care you need and deserve.

Protect yourself and others by wearing a mask in public spaces, washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, sleeve or arm. As well as, staying home or away from groups if you are sick with a fever, cough, shortness of breath, and are feeling tired. Here are some resources for local health clinics & COVID-19 testing.

  • Healthcare Assistance and Covid-19 Testing
    For a Full List of testing centers visit the County of Santa Cruz Health Services Agency at - You can also call United Way of Santa Cruz County at 211 or Text "covid19" to 211211
  • Santa Cruz Community Health Centers - Covid Testing Available
    21507 E Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz, CA 95062
  • County Health Center-Santa Cruz - Covid Testing Available
    1080 Emeline Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
  • County Health Center-Watsonville - Covid Testing Available
    1430 Freedom Blvd, Suite D, Watsonville, CA 95076
  • Salud Para La Gente - Covid Testing Available
    204 East Beach Street, Watsonville, CA 95076
  • East Cliff Family Health Center
    21507 East Cliff Drive Santa Cruz
    (831) 427-3500
  • Santa Cruz Women’s Health Center
    250 Locust Street Santa Cruz
    (831) 427-3500
  • Clinica del Valle del Pájaro
    45 Nielson St Watsonville
  • Dientes Community Dental
    1430 Freedom Blvd, Suite C Watsonville: (831) 621-2560
    302 Riverside Ave Santa Cruz: (831) 464 – 5411

Who You Gonna Call?

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Photo by Pavan Trikutam

Feeling safe is a foundational part of individual and collective well being. Alongside access to food and housing, a feeling of safety allows us to experience the fullness of life. But who gets to feel safe in our community?

Policing in the United States has a long and troublesome history. One rooted in systematic oppression and violence toward people of color and marginalized populations. The American Public Health Association identifies policing as a threat to public health. Armed police are often dispatched to address issues they are not properly trained to respond to. Issues like houselessness, mental health crisis, and domestic abuse. What we need is a more robust social safety net.

True public safety is the product of a holistic system of community care and accountability. Here are some alternatives to consider before calling for an armed police response.

Cultivate Mental & Emotional Health

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Mental and emotional health are vital to your overall well being. This is a challenging time for many. Grief, anxiety, burnout, and depression are not uncommon. It’s important to find the support you need. Learn how to build your emotional support network.

Food is Medicine

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Photo by Joel Muniz

Access to good nutrition is a human right, and should be available to everyone. But in a county known for its agriculture, food inequity still exists. Finding good nourishing food shouldn't have to be a challenge. Find more information on food distribution centers and free community pantries in our county. Access resources, donate, or volunteer.

Monthly calendar of food distributions and essential resources. Please call Second Harvest Community Food Hotline for the latest updates 831.662.0991

Housing is Healthcare

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Photo by Tom Rumble

California is in a housing crisis. People experiencing houselessness are at higher risk for exposure and are among our community's most vulnerable. If you or someone you know is experiencing challenges finding access to affordable housing, you're not alone.

Find out more about tenant resources and shelters in our county.

Get Creative

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Photo by Steve Johnson

Creativity is a vital part of reflection and growth. Art and creativity can help us imagine the world we want to live in and find ways to move toward that vision. Keep an eye out for ongoing programs hosted by the MAH throughout the year by checking our event calendar or signing up for our weekly newsletters.

Find ways to tuck into the creative community here in Santa Cruz County.

The More We Know, The More We Grow

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Photo by Studio Media

We are experiencing a moment of collective insight and reflection. Meet the moment, and find out how to reconnect with yourself and the world around you. Listen. Read. Learn. Grow.

Check out our blog or join our email list to find out more about local history and discover resources for local schools and educators.

  • Youth NOW
    Student support for creativity and success
    (831) 768-7998

Learn from Plants

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Photo by Chinh Le Duc

Plants can be a source of emotional and physical support. They can help us learn more about the world around us and our relationship to it. Tap into the wisdom of our plant friends by digging into the local resources listed here.

  • The Herb Room Santa Cruz
    Herbal and personal care on 1130 Mission St. (831) 429-8108
    Herbalism, Skin Care & Women's Health
  • Wild Seeds Utility Cream
    Herbal Skin Care
  • Kindred Herbs
    Women owned nursery specializing in medicinal plants. (831) 204-0331
  • Weekly Farmer’s Markets
    Support local growers & herbalists
    • Downtown Wednesdays 1-5pm
      Cedar St & Lincoln St
    • Felton Tuesdays 1-5:30pm
      120 Russell Ave
    • Live Oak Sunday 9am-1pm
      15th & Eastcliff Dr
    • Scotts Valley Saturday 9am-1pm
      King's Village Dr
    • Westside Saturday 9am-1pm
      Mission St. Ext. and Western Dr.
  • Amah Mutsun Relearning Program
    Reviving traditional ecological knowledge to address contemporary environmental problems.

Find Support. Give Support. Get Involved.

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While COVID-19 restrictions may keep us apart, there are still lots of ways to get involved and stay connected. Support mutual aid efforts or stay up to date with decisions being made within our local government.

Learn more about how you can play a role in sustaining positive social change.

Become a MAH Member

Support the year-long activation of Community is Collective Care and to ensure a sustainable and resilient MAH.