Art & Culture

Vertigo to host ‘First Saturdays’ event this weekend

Santa Cruz artist and SBHS graduate, Allison Marie Garcia, will be the featured artist for this weekend's "First Saturdays" event. Garcia's artwork appears on Vertigo's logo, festive mugs, T-shirts, and other merchandise
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On Saturday, Jan. 7, Vertigo Coffee Roasters of San Juan Bautista will host its first installment of a monthly series featuring local artists. The series, called First Saturdays, is the brainchild of Veritgo’s manager, Ryan Morris, and barista, Jarae Tanner, who was responsible for organizing the coffee house's Pop-Up art shows last year. This weekend's event begins at 4 p.m.

Santa Cruz resident and 2004 San Benito High School graduate, Allison Marie Garcia, is this month's featured artist.

In a telephone interview with BenitoLink, Morris explained that Garcia was a natural first choice. She is the artist behind Vertigo’s signature logo, festive mugs, commemorative T-shirts, and other merchandise.

Morris, who has known Garcia since the two attended elementary school together and who has always been a fan of her work, reached out to his childhood friend in 2014 when the specialty coffee shop was redesigning its logo.

“Ryan asked me to think about the coolest job I’d envision. I thought, ‘to design and draw something that the public could utilize’,” Garcia recalled.

Garcia explained that she and Morris have since developed a professional relationship built on collaboration.

"Ryan tells me what he needs. I'll come up with an idea, and he'll come up with the tweaks," she said.

She added that Vertigo’s support and encouragement has since given her a greater sense of “confidence, inspiration, and security.”

Garcia’s upcoming art show is titled, “Milky Way Romance: Illustrations and Explorations.” The theme behind this collection of her artwork—which includes ink illustrations, prints, stickers, and buttons—is aliens and sex.

“These are two things that fascinate a lot of people. It’s about possibilities and exploration,” she said, adding that she hopes those who attend her exhibit feel inspired to take notice of the limitless “possibilities that are around them.”

Tanner, who is serving as curator for the "First Saturdays" series, explained in an email to BenitoLink that the success of last year's Pop-Up art shows is what drove the decision to host this year's monthly event, which gives attendees an opportunity meet each artist and perhaps purchase a piece of artwork. 

The artist-of-the-month will then have his or her work displayed at Vertigo until the next art show.

And Tanner stated that there is still room available on the calendar for featured artists, even amateurs.

“I'm looking for anyone who can give me a portfolio and have a message behind their work; a cohesive collection — any medium. I love variety," she said.

Morris said he is looking forward to this Saturday’s event, especially the reception from Vertigo's patrons.

“She [Garcia] has a pretty good following among our customers and they’ll be excited to meet her and take away her work,” he said.


Follow Allison Marie Garcia on Instagram @blindperson or to purchase her work visit,

For more information about the "First Saturdays" series, contact:
Vertigo Coffee Roasters
81 4th St.
San Juan Bautista
(831) 623-9533

Frank Pérez

I’m a lifelong resident of San Benito County. I reside in Hollister with my wife, Brenda. I’m embarking on my 19th year at San Benito High School, where I teach world history and Mexican-American history. In addition, I'm moonlighting as a freelance journalist for BenitoLink. My passion is delving deeper into the nuances of the local, historical record, while including lesser-known stories of our past. My hope is that county residents will have a greater appreciation for the diversity and complexity of San Benito County, realizing that its uniqueness depends upon our responsibility as its stewards.