June 2011

Volume 4, Issue 6

San Jose Public Art eNews
  The Online Newsletter of the City of San Josť Public Art Program 
In This Issue
Public Art Program Receives National Honor
Artwork, Exhibit Explore Prehistoric Life in San Jose
Public Art Committee: Next Meeting - Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Another Community Seeks to Save Historic Millard Sheets Mural
City Hall Exhibits
Explore Public Art
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San Jose's Public Art Program Garners National Recognition


The Office of Cultural Affairs is proud to announce that the City of San Jose's Public Art Program was named America's "Public Art Program of the Year" at the 2011 Americans For The Arts conference, held this week in San Diego, CA.


This recognition is particularly significant as this is the first time ever that such an honor has been bestowed and San Jose's program was chosen as the premiere honoree.


In making the annoucement, presenters noted that San Jose's Public Art Program has distinguished itself in a number of key areas including the Public Art Program at the San Jose Mineta International Airport.


Public Art & Exhibit Explore Prehistoric Life in San Jose


Imagine discovering signs of prehistoric life in your own neighborhood...


That is exactly what happened in July, 2005, in the heart of Silicon Valley. Roger Castillo, a San Jose resident, was walking his dog along a levee next to the Guadalupe River when he spotted something peculiar in the riverbank's sandy clay. It was the fossilized protruding tusk of a juvenile Columbian mammoth, a species related to the modern day elephant that roamed in this region during the late Pleistocene, 14,000 years ago.


From now and through the summer, residents and visitors can delve into this experience through a very special temporary public artwork by artist JD Beltran and a major exhibition at Children's Discovery Museum, both inspired by the discovery.  


An image from the Portal projection at the intersection of S. Almaden Blvd. and W. San Fernando St.


In this present age, when our day-to-day experience is infused with ringing cellphones, supermarkets, social networks, highways and high-rises, most of us cannot even imagine that the surfaces we now walk upon were, long ago, the same pathways traversed by prehistoric mammoths, lions, tigers, wolves, and humans - us. But they were. Portal, a public artwork by artist JD Beltran, contemplates the passage of time.   


"Portal reflects upon the deep past, the collapse of time and how we visualize time through art," says artist JD Beltran. 


Portal is featured as an evening projection throughout the summer months on the face of the twelve-story AT&T building at the intersection of South Almaden Boulevard and West San Fernando Street in downtown San Jose.   


Journey captivates viewers in a recent storefront showing at Liquid Agency on S. 1st St.


Also featured is Journey, a related short film by JD Beltran. Journey will be screened through August at Children's Discovery Museum and will also be featured in short term presentations at multiple locations around downtown throughout the summer. (Check the CDM website - link below - for details.)


For more information about viewing the artworks, visit:



Portal and Journey were commissioned by Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose and presented in partnership with the San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs - Public Art Program. The Public Art Program is also in the process of developing a permanent public art project based on the mammoth discovery.


The discovery of "Lupe," as the juvenile Columbian mammoth has been called, is also the subject of Mammoth Discovery!, a major exhibition at Children's Discovery Museum that opened June 11, 2011.  For more information about the exhibit, visit: www.cdm.org/mammothdiscovery 



Save the Date!!

Mark your Calendars: on Saturday, July 16 from 7:30 - 9:00 PM Children's Discovery Museum will host a progressive, multi-venue artist reception and public art walk with artist JD Beltran that will culminate at the Portal projection site with a talk by the artist.  Details about this event will be posted and updated in the coming weeks at www.cdm.org/portal.

Public Art Committee: Notice of Regular Meeting

Tuesday, June 21, 2011 at 4:00 P.M.
(Please Note: There is a time change for this month's meeting)


Meeting Location: City Hall, Council Wing- Meeting Room W-119, 200 E. Santa Clara Street,  San Jose.  





1. Discuss meeting schedule


2. Climate Clock Presentation at Montalvo on Wednesday, August 24th at 5:30 pm.



1. Alum Rock Banners presentation by Corinne Okada Takara and students from the Alum Rock neighborhood (District 5) 


2. Informational presentation on the third Climate Clock artist group. (Citywide)





No Items.



No Items.



a. Review and take action on a recommendation to approve the Schematic Design Phase II proposal for the Diridon Station Green public art project by artists collective BIOS. (Council District 3)



a. Review and take action on a recommendation to approve the schematic and design development for an artwork by Marta Thoma to be located at the Bestor Art Park. (Council District 3)  



The full agenda packet for either meeting is viewable in a downloadable format at www.sanjoseculture.org seven days prior to the posted meeting date.


Public Art Committee meetings are open to the public.  
The Public Art Committee, a sub-committee of the Arts Commission, is advisory to the Commission and to San Jose City Council. The Public Art Committee monitors and provides oversight in the planning, artist selection, development and design review of public art projects throughout the City. 




A Community Works to Save Another Historic Millard Sheets Artwork

Thre is a very real issue about how to deal with large, historic artworks that are parts of buildings.


Last year there the fate of the artwork in the old Terminal C at the San Jose Mineta International Airport by California artist Millard Sheets captured considerable interest. The mural

depicted scenes from the early history of San Jose; it was one of Sheets' last works and had become a familiar site at the Airport. Installed in a part of the Airport slated for demolition as part of the Airport's expansion, it seemed possible that the mural might not be salvageable except in a digital rendering. Then,at the last moment in a move that was almost heroic, the artist's son Tony Sheets was able to skillfully remove the canvas from the wall to which it had been firmly adhered for several decades. He then helped to restore and install it in a location in the new Terminal A.


Another of Millard Sheets' historic and irreplacable murals is now undergoing a similar saga. This time the location is San Antonio Texas and the subject of the artwork is the Alamo. At 640 sq. feet, this artwork entitled "The Death of Travis" which portrays the Battle of the Alamo is reputed to be the world's largest fine art painting about the Alamo.  For images and to read more about this story go to www.mysanantonio.com. 


To read more about saving the San Jose Millard Sheets artwork, go to: 

 Public Art eNews May 2010 issue for the story about the challenges in saving the artwork

and to  

Pubic Art eNews - Feb. 2011 issue for how it was successfully saved and reinstalled.

City Hall Exhibits

Current exhibitions as of newsletter distribution.


The following exhibits are presented by the City Hall Exhibition Program, a project of the San Jose Public Art Program. All exhibits are free and open to the public. 


The exhibition spaces are located at San Jose City Hall, 200 East Santa Clara Street, San Jose, CA.




Now Showing



OrbSWARM. Robotic Orb created by SWARM, an international collective.Photo courtesy of the SWARM collective.


Exhibition: Invention: A Celebration of Silicon Valley Innovative Spirit


Location: San Josť City Hall Tower lobby cases

Dates: January 2011- November 2011



Video Guitar. Created by Ben Lewry of Visionary Instruments. Photo courtesy of Ben Lewry.


Embedded deep in the American psyche is the pioneer spirit, a longing for adventure and a passion for exploration. Central to our nationhood is a deep desire to leave no frontiers unconquered. Surveys and opinion polls taken over the decades reveal an American public with a profound faith in technology, soaring imagination, and a prodigious appetite for the new-fangled. Nowhere is this national spirit of innovation and invention more prevalent than in San Josť, the capital of Silicon Valley. By turning the spotlight on an eclectic selection of inventors, artists, designers, engineers, visionaries and tinkerers from all over the greater Bay Area, Invention: A Celebration of Silicon Valley's Innovative Spirit gives the residents of San Josť an opportunity to celebrate their creative regional brain trust and unique identity, one that is envied the world over.




The Conscience of the City


Location:  City Windows Gallery in City Hall

200 E. Santa Clara Street, San Jose, CA   

In the storefront exhibit space along 4th Street



R.Dawson photograph of wastewater in motion. 



Exhibit continues into Summer 2011


Robert Dawson has worked for six months with the City of San Jose's Office of Cultural Affairs and the Environmental Services Department as the City's first Photographer-in-Residence at its Water Pollution Control Plant. Dawson's work is intended to generate awareness about this invisible part of our daily lives. His photographs depict a huge, complex but delicate machine and explore four key elements:  the People who work diligently to keep the Plant functioning efficiently and the South San Francisco Bay alive; the Place, consisting of a massive infrastructure that surprisingly includes areas of astonishing beauty; the Treatment, a highly complex, environmentally sensitive process that never ends; and the History showing changes over the Water Pollution Control Plant's fifty-year history since it was built in 1962.



Explore Public Art in Downtown San Jose 

Create your own walking tour!

Here are two ways you can enjoy public art in Downtown San Jose.


The San Jose Public Art Program's  colorful, informative map of public art projects in downtown San Jose has recently been updated. The Downtown Public Art Map is a fun and easy way to see public in downtown San Jose.


Use it to create your own walking tour and include opportunities to stop and enjoy other features in the district including museums, galleries and restaurants.  



The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library includes an award-winning collection of more than 34 site-specific public artworks in locations throughout the library. Finding them is a process of exploration and discovery that is filled with surprises! A free colorful detailed brochure is available from the San Jose Public Art Program that will help you appreciate this extraordinary collection.  


To request a free copy of the Downtown Public Art Map or the Recolecciones - Library Art Collection brochure, please e-mail your request to  patricia.walsh@sanjoseca.gov, and include your mailing address.
A printable pdf version of the Downtown Public Art Map is also available on the Public Art webpage of the Office of Cultural Affairs website at San Jose Downtown Public Art Map.


More to come in San Jose Public Art eNews!




San Jose Public Art eNews is the way to keep connected and informed. Please stay with us for future editions.

We welcome your comments, ideas and suggestions. Please e-mail us at publicart@sanjoseca.gov.
Please forward this to people you know who might like to keep informed about public art in San Jose.