A new installation by Monica Canilao and Xara Thustra (MCXT) that reimagines the local Venetian Water Carnivals, a Victorian-era spectacle on the San Lorenzo River.

October 14, 2022–February 24, 2023

Learn More

3rd Floor
Art Forum Gallery

Monica Canilao and Xara Thustra make up the collaborative duo behind MCXT. For the last year, MCXT has been delving into the archives and connecting with local artists and historians to illuminate the stories behind the early Venetian Water Carnivals of Santa Cruz as part of their residency at the MAH.

For this year’s entry into the Capitola Nautical Parade they reflect on our collective histories on the water. MCXT's kaleidoscopic visuals recall the grandeur of this area’s past festivals and pay homage to the First Peoples of these waterways, and the multitude of cultures that thrive along waterways of all types, to create a thought provoking, visual experience that celebrates our present moment.

This fantastical art vessel and its bevy of nautical delights will remain on view along the Capitola Beach on September 24 featuring performances from Adrian Clutario and Jon Leezy. The event will also feature a fresh flower installation by Kelly Brown of Do Right Flower Farm. The vessel will then be relocated to the MAH as part of a site-specific installation opening on October 14.

MCXT’s entry into the Capitola Nautical Parade is part of a week-long series called CommonGround, a place-based festival of contemporary art organized by the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History.

The Venetian Water Carnivals of early Santa Cruz were an annual spectacle held along the San Lorenzo River from 1895 to 1927. The event was based on the water carnivals of Venice, Italy to support the image of Santa Cruz as the “Florence of the West.” The carnivals featured floats and live performances that guests would enjoy from the bank of the river and were responsible for bringing electric power to Santa Cruz, which then inspired the creation of the boardwalk in 1904. MCXT uses primarily found, recycled and thrifted materials to manifest their vision, they’ve also incorporated a plethora of silk flowers as a nod to the historic Begonia Festivals which took place on these waters for 65 years prior to today’s event.

MCXT and the MAH would like to acknowledge that the lands on which we gather are the unceded territories of the Awaswas-speaking Uypi Tribe. As part of this acknowledgement, the artists have made contributions to the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band as well as the Sogorea Te' Land Trust through the Shuumi Land Tax.

Meet the Artists

Monica Infinite Other


Monica Canilao

Read Bio
Xara Infinite Other


Xara Thustra

Read Bio
MCXT Arian


Adrian Clutario

Read Bio
MCXT Leezy


Jon Leezy

Read Bio

Support the MAH

Help fuel a strong and resilient MAH by becoming a MAH Member or making a donation. Your contribution directly supports the future of the museum and connecting our community through art, history, and culture.