Judy Rodriguez Watson recounts the influences on her life as reasons for participation in CSUSBs Art Programs.
With her husband Jim, Judy Watson has a long history of opening up financial doors for students at CSUSB. Now she’s showing her personal passion for PDAs – public displays of art.
At 14 and to her surprise, Judy Rodriguez Watson had the chance to visit five countries in Europe, “which totally opened my eyes to a whole other world of cultural arts,” she said. “It was such a pivotal moment in my life that spurred me to further my education and develop my love of art.”
Years later, she’s still seeing the effects of that trip. Cal State San Bernardino has named its four-year-old Public Art Project after Rodriguez Watson, co-president of the Seal Beach-based Watson and Associates Development. The project will be known as the Judy Rodriguez Watson Public Art Project.
Together with her husband, James Watson, chief executive officer of Watson and Associates, Judy Rodriguez Watson pledged a gift of $300,000 to CSUSB in October 2006 for art students to create public art for display at designated sites at CSUSB, the surrounding community and around the city of San Bernardino.
“I was stunned and very humbled when I was asked if I would accept naming the project after me,” said Rodriguez Watson. “I feel very proud to have my Latino surname included in the title of the project. Perhaps someday a high school student might see the Latino name and be inspired to develop her passion for art.”
“Through the Watsons’ generous gift, the art department initiated a public art course, in which students and faculty have already created artworks for public places in the city of San Bernardino,” said Sant Khalsa, chair of CSUSB’s art department. Taught by CSUSB art professor Richard Johnston, a renowned sculptor and creator of art for public places, the course teaches the study and practice of public art, its history, theory, conceptualization and production.
The Art Stop project was one of the first to be completed and installed in downtown San Bernardino. At the request of San Bernardino Mayor Patrick Morris, CSUSB art students painted and designed 12, 24-inch concrete spheres. Another project expected to be installed later this year is a monument in tribute to the city of San Bernardino’s Bicentennial celebration. The monument will be installed at Chancellor’s Park located at the corner of Kendall Drive and Campus Parkway.
The Watsons’ philanthropic efforts are not limited to the arts. The couple co-chaired the “Tools for Education” fundraising campaign in 2006 for the construction of the university’s College of Education building, raising more than $3 million.