December 2011

Volume 4, Issue 8

San Jose Public Art eNews
  The Online Newsletter of the City of San JosÚ Public Art Program 
In This Issue
2011: The Year in Review, and a Look Forward...
'Cultivating Community' by Valerie Raps
Public Art Committee: Next Meeting - Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Current City Hall Exhibits
Explore Public Art
Quick Links
Join Our List
Join Our Mailing List
Year in Review -  A Look Back at 2011...and Forward to 2012 


2011 was a bittersweet year for San Jose's Public Art Program. Our program received national recognition for its accomplishments just at the time when the City of San Jose's capital program was winding down, reducing City funding. 2011 had vibrant new beginnings --- initiating partnerships with the National Endowment for the Arts, ZER01, the Children's Discovery Museum, the City of Capitola, and Montalvo Art Center -- and sad endings, as the financial pinch forced us to lay off our talented Program Coordinator, Patricia Walsh.  At the same time, we're proud of all we accomplished.


A number of new public art projects were completed and dedicated:


A view of the canopied play area in DeSalvo's Seven for Seven Trees.

  • Seven Trees for Seven Trees by Roman DeSalvo at the Seven Trees Community Center;
  • Cultivating Community by Valerie Raps, at the Imwalle development at King & Story Road (see story, below);
  • Arbor by Joseph Sanchez and his team from San Jose State University's Industrial Design Progrm, a temporary installationat the City's Solar Showcase on the north side of Fifth and Santa Clara (profiled in October's eNews);
  • Portal by JD Beltran, in collaboration with the Children's Discovery Museum, a temporary projection installation on the AT & T building at the northeast corner of Almaden and San Fernando (profiled in October's eNews.)  

Three additional public art projects were completed and will be visible when new libraries/community centers open:


Baron's Stratigraphy on exterior elevator bay features layers of community artifacts cast in bronze.
  • Stratigraphy by Ron Baron at the Bascom Avenue Library and Community Center
  • Potential by Sammy Rodriguez at Seven Trees Branch Library; and
  • Nature Knowledge by Catherine Wagner at Educational Branch Library.

We selected artists for a number of significant new projects including the artist for the Convention Center, Soo-in Yang; Greenmeme, who are designing a project about the discovery of a mammoth fossil on the lower reach of the Guadalupe River Trail; Ball-Nogues, who will be designing artwork for the new soccer facility; Bill Gould, who is designing gateways for Vista Park; and Johanna Poethig, who is developing art for the Starbird Teen Center.


Much of 2011 was devoted to stewardship of the City's public art collection. We reinstalled Millard Sheets' historic mural at the airport's International Terminal; we restored Ice Play on the fašade of Sharks Ice at Alma and S. 10th Street; and we initiated restoration of the San Jose and Santa Clara Veterans Memorial. We also began to respectfully de-accession artworks in locations that had significantly changed.

Sheets' mural undergoing a final touch-up in its new, permanent location.

Our City Hall exhibits program welcomed three new exhibits - Invention: A Celebration of Silicon Valley Innovative Spirit in the Santa Clara lobby, San Jose/Yekaterinburg Russia:  Sister Cities Cultural Exchange Exhibits in City Windows Gallery and the Mayor/Council Lobby; and City of Champions: 2001, a San Jose Soccer Odyssey in the Wing Niches on the ground floor of City Hall.


Lastly, San Jose Public Art received significant recognition from the National Endowment for the Arts in the form of a $250,000 "Our Town" grant to partner with ZER01 on developing changing artwork in the SoFA District, and through Americans for the Arts first-ever "Program of the Year" designation.


As we welcome 2012, we look forward to the completion and dedication of new artworks and the growth of San Jose Public Art through new capital construction and outside partnerships. We look forward to sharing our work with you and wish you a joyous holiday season.


Barbara Goldstein, Public Art Program Director  


'Cultivating Community' - An Artist's Tribute to a Neighborhood's Legacy


'Cultivating Community':over time natural grasses selected by artist will infill and complement artwork's setting.


Cultivating Community was created by San Jose artist Valerie Raps. The artwork is part of a larger, comprehensive project, the Alum Rock Cultural History Corridor (ARCHC), which seeks to celebrate the rich cultural history of east San Jose through artworks and other elements. (See ARCHC background below.)


Raps' sculpture is in the form of a life size 'spring-tooth harrow', an iconic piece of farm equipment used to cultivate the land by aerating the soil with curved 'tines' that turn the soil as the harrow is pulled along. In Raps' artwork, ten cast bronze human arms replace the harrow's curved 'tines', miming the action of the harrow but with human hands turning the soil. The sculpture thus symbolically depicts the many human hands that worked the fields. It speaks to the agricultural work and hard physical labor that has been such an important part of the community. It further suggests the idea of cultural diversity and the power of people working together to build community.

Detail of bronze arms in Cultivating Community

Raps cast the arms of real community members for the artwork, underscoring the connection of this artwork to this community. Each of the people who participated by having their arm cast for the artwork embody the ideas represented in the work. They are:

  • Members of the family of Cesar Chavez including Cesar Chavez's sister and brother Rita Chavez Medina andLibrado Chavez, and Rudy Medina, his nephew.
  • Hermelinda Sapien, President /Chief Executive Officer of Center for Educational Training in San Jose, is an educator and activist with deep roots in this community.
  • Raul Lozano, long-time Executive Director at Teatro Vision in Mexican Heritage Plaza who now, through La Mesa Verde, helps community members learn to grow their own food.
  • Steve Arevalo, an activist with Filipino farm workers.
  • Mark Anthony Medeiros, Farm Manager at Veggielution, a community farm located in Emma Prusch Park that is dedicated to "cultivating education, community, and social justice through sustainable agriculture."
  • Rosa Campos, an original community activist with deep roots in the early farm workers movement.
  • Hank Imwalle, senior member of a family that has been farming in the area for five generations.
  • Chelan Addleman, community member and long-time manager of the Mayfair Community Garden, facilitating the involvement of the many new South Asian immigrants in the community garden.


Cultivating Community is located in the Tropicana Shopping Center on the Southwest corner of Story and S. King Roads on the Bank of America plaza. Cultivating Community was created in partnership with Don Imwalle and Imwalle Stegner Development, the property developer and the San Jose Redevelopment Agency.



The Alum Rock Cultural History Corridor is a group of diverse elements that help to recall, honor, celebrate and engage people in the rich social and cultural history of the Alum Rock/Mayfair neighborhood. These are detailed in the Alum Rock Cultural History Corridor Master Plan which maps the many existing elements in this community including historic sites, other public artworks and commemorative signage and further recommends creation of additional elements that touch on specific themes. Cultivating Community is the first new work to be created in response to the Plan.  


Cultivating Community is the first new artwork in the group of works that will comprise the Alum Rock Cultural History Corridor.


Public Art Committee: Meeting Notice 



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




  a. Convention Center - review of recommended artist Soo-in Yang. (Citywide)     


   b. San Jose/Santa Clara Wastewater Treatment Plant - Action on recommendation that the City Manager negotiate and execute a new agreement with Mark Brest Van Kempen in the amount of $20,000 to develop a design proposal for an artwork that educates the community about the environmental aspects of the Wastewater Treatment Plant. (Citywide) (Citywide)



No items.   



a. Action on the schematic and partial design development proposal for the Alum Rock Cultural History Corridor Mexican Heritage Plaza cultural commemoration public art project by artists Sayako Dairiki and Jonathan Hammond (District 5)



  a. Action on the updated design development proposal for San Carlos Street public art project by artists Steve Durie and Bruce Gardner (District 3)    

  b. Action on the design development proposal for Starbird Youth Center public art project by artist Johanna Poethig (District 1) 


View/download the full agenda packet for the meeting at:


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. 

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 in various sites at San Jose City Hall, 200 East Santa Clara Street, San Jose, CA.


Now Showing:   


City of Champions: 2001, a San Jose Soccer Odyssey
City of Champs IMG1

Through artwork, photos, memorabilia and much more, the
City of Champions exhibit features items dating all the way back to the late-'60s, the era that eventually led to the NASL version of the San Jose Earthquakes, but the year 2001 is the main focus. That year, San Jose became the only city in United States history where the men's and women's pro teams of any sport both won championships. 


For detailed background information on this exhibit, read the October 12 feature article by Gary Singh entitled Kickin' It in San Jose's MetroActive.


Location: 1st Floor City Hall Wing Concourse Exhibition Area (Outside the San Jose City Council Chambers)


On display during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM 




San Jose/Yekaterinburg Russia:  Sister Cities Cultural Exchange Exhibits

The following two exhibits are the result of an artist exchange the took place earlier this year between artists from San Jose State University and Yekaterinburg Russia. San Jose artists Robin Lasser, Adrienne Pao and Brian Taylor spent 7 days in Yekaterinburg in May 2011, and two Russian photographers from Yekaterinburg, Sophia Nasyrova and Denis Tarasov, spent a week in San Jose, CA in June.  


The exhibits are components of a large and far-reaching international collaboration. Both the book and film about this significant cultural exhcange project, currently in production by the U.S. Department of State, are due out at the end of the year. For more information about this cultural exchange project please visit www.russianamericanexchange.weebly.com .


TMs. Yekaterinburg: Camera Obscura Dress Tent by Robin Lasser and Adrienne Pao.



Seven Days-Sister Cities-Artist Exchange 

Seven Days-Sister Cities-Artist Exchange, a comprehensive installation of photography, video, sound and handmade book art.


Location:  City Windows Gallery     

In the storefront exhibit space along the 4th Street side of the City Hall complex.  


On display daily - all hours.  


Sister Cities artist image 7 Days
Photo: Dennis Tarasov

Seven Days in San Jose 

Seven Days in San JosÚ, is a selection of sixteen photographs by photographers Ara Ahadi, Barbara Boissevain, Elena Polanco, Julia Weber, Jeffrey Opp, Sieglinde Von Damme, Eric Baral and Tamara Danoyan, graduate students in San JosÚ State University's photography program. Their work gives viewers a different perspective on familiar territory as the students photographed along side the Russian team.   


Location: San Jose City Hall Mayor's Lobby Gallery - 18th floor of City Hall    


On display 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday


The City Hall complex is located at 200 East Santa Clara Street, between 4th and 6th Streets in San Jose.


Both exhibits are open to the public and will be on view through Spring 2012.  





Exhibition: Invention: A Celebration of Silicon Valley Innovative Spirit


Location: San JosÚ City Hall Tower lobby cases


On display during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM through November 2011




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


Invention: A Celebration of Silicon Valley's Innovative Spirit turns the spotlight on an eclectic selection of inventors, artists, designers, engineers, visionaries and tinkerers from all over the greater Bay Area,  giving the residents of San JosÚ an opportunity to celebrate their creative regional brain trust and unique identity, one that is envied the world over.







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 publicart@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.
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