Abierto Award for Downtown San Jose Activities

orange traced letters spelling abierto spells out geography of the arts with multi colored pin drop

In October 2021, project investigator, Katherine D. Harris, was awarded an Abierto Placemaking grant from the City of San Jose thanks to the commitment and innovative activities created by SJSU faculty Erica Buurman (Beethoven Center), Rhonda Holberton (Art & Art History), Tina Korani (Journalism & Mass Communication), and Alena Sauzade (Thompson Gallery). 

San José State University’s College of Humanities and the Arts is ready to build bridges between our college and the downtown San Jose community in this post-pandemic era with a robust series of community engagement activities throughout Spring 2022 by leveraging one of our primary college-wide initiatives: H&A in San Jose is a community-building initiative to foster collaboration between H&A and the rich environment of our surrounding community. 

  • Mobile Creative Workshops and Mobile Exhibition Kiosk: A participatory and mobile art exhibition over 2 different days: we propose three hands-on art making workshops and a mobile exhibition kiosk focused on community stories and connection to take place outdoors in multiple locations in downtown San Jose
  • International Mother Language Day (Feb 2022): The 3rd annual International Mother Language Day (see 2021) celebrates cultural diversity through art, language, food, and dance. Various local food truck vendors and dance groups from different cultures (e.g., Chinese, Indian, Ethiopian, Mexican, etc.) will be invited to showcase how their cultures influence their food and dance traditions.
  • Postcards Project: This event builds on and extends the 2019-20 “Wish You Were Here” design project. Walking art kiosks beginning at campus, winding through the Circle of Palms in front of the San José Museum of Art and into other green spaces in downtown in which community members will collaboratively create “poetic postcards” that imaginatively integrate visual art and text to tell stories about sheltering in a place or searching for a place to shelter during the pandemic.
  • Music Hike in Alum Rock Park (May 2022): A one-day nature walk in Alum Rock Park that explores nature and creativity in collaboration with the Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies and SJSU Wind Band performances. 

 The goal of this series of pop-up events, nature strolls, and museum celebrations for the Abierto initiative is to build out the Geography of the Arts by letting people engage, stroll, and geographically connect with the place where they live, particularly in terms of the arts. By interacting with faculty and student artists, participants will learn how the arts can be used in combination for the purpose of placemaking, representing place-in-pandemic, and communicating diverse experiences of place. 

This collection of activities are part of the Geography of the Arts and will be free and open to the public. Watch the Geography of the Arts space for Spring 2022 dates!

abierto news with other candidates

Many of these activities have already been produced for our on-campus community. We look forward to extending our Humanities and Arts live programming and activities specifically to the San Jose community surrounding our campus to further enhance a robust relationship with our neighbors.

-Author: Katherine D. Harris (Dec. 20, 2021)