sunset crowd

From Steamer Lane to the Natural Bridge

An exhibition at the Santa Cruz County Government Center
May 20 - July 22, 2022

Monday-Friday 8:00am - 5:00pm | 701 Ocean Street, Fifth Floor

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From Steamer Lane to the Natural Bridge explores the ‘commons’ space in our community where people from different neighborhoods, as well as those visiting Santa Cruz, congregate and interact with each other and the natural environment..

The commons is the cultural and natural resources accessible to all members of a society, including natural materials such as air, water, and a habitable Earth. These resources are held in common, not owned privately.”

The California coastline has always been held as a commons for all to share. In Santa Cruz one of the most popular stretches of these commons is along Westcliff Drive from the Lighthouse down to Natural Bridges State Park.

This place where the land ends and the sea begins seems to open up endless possibilities. It is a place for one’s soul to rest or to soar. A place to explore the unknown. It is a great canvas and the human body is the medium used to paint an image there. Be it running or digging in the sand, splashing in the waves or juggling on the cliff, it is here that one’s mind can wander, receptive to the natural world and to life in its many forms.

The noted child psychologist, Jean Piaget, observed that play is child's work.  I would say that even as adults we never lose the need to play.  We are forever searching to know ourselves.  And it is here in the ocean's embrace that we are children again, ready to learn.  Whether in communion with fellow beings or in solitude, the transitional space between the two vast kingdoms of land and sea inspires the imagination and restores the soul.

Nina Koocher is a photographer and filmmaker living in Santa Cruz, California.

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