Arts program grows to add images to more store fronts, utility boxes
Twenty more Downtown Doors have been added to the downtown landscape to delight, surprise and evoke responses from thousands of pedestrians passing by.
The selections for the 2017 Downtown Doors exhibition provided a mix of pensive character sketches and unique perspectives on life and lessons learned, always expressing their emotions through broad swatches of colors and artistic techniques.
The winners of the annual competition – now in its 13th year – were selected from 189 submissions from students at 21 San Jose high schools. In 2017, the Downtown Doors program produced by the San Jose Downtown Foundation expanded to 113 sites located in the city’s core.
Using the same application seen on some light rail trains and buses, their pieces are enlarged, transferred onto vinyl decals and affixed to single- and double-panel service doors of large buildings, and a number of utility boxes throughout downtown San Jose.
Since the program began in 2003, 252 student works have been selected.
“Success is often measured by the amount of wealth, however, true success is measured in how we make the world a better place,” said Diana Beechie, president of the San Jose Downtown Foundation. “Our students have achieved great success by creating a more beautiful vibrant downtown.”
Several of the students put their inspiration, message and other thoughts and feelings on videotape, which can be retrieved by a smart phone at the art locations Yerba Buena High School students Nayeli Galvan and Manuel Beltran, for example, were motivated in distinctly different ways.
While Galvan stated her purpose for “My Shattered World” was to use watercolors to paint a mosaic splashed with the brightest colors, Beltran paid respect and sent a strong message of support to his girlfriend, entitling his piece, “Courage.”
Chloe Calhoun, a senior at Santa Teresa High School, created an inspirational character, “Mercedes,” a woman with one mechanical arm who is strong and can handle all of life’s challenges.
“I want her to be an inspiration for everyone to keep fighting,” Calhoun said. “I’m happy to put her out in the public and to put more art out into the world,” Calhoun said.
Downtown Doors has proven to be a stepping-stone toward better grades, graduation, college and a leadership position in society. Students often claim that the Downtown Doors competition confirms their talent as artists. Every person selected shows excitement at being included on the prestigious list of Downtown Doors winners.
A private reception honoring the artists and their works took place May 4 at the San Jose Museum of Art.
Program sponsors include: Imwali Properties, City of San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs, Catered Too!, Orchard Commercial, Inc., PG&E, Kimley-Horn, Jeppesen, Republic Services, Councilmember Dev Davis, SVCreates, KQED, AC Hotel and San Jose Water Company.
2017 site hosts include: Marriott Hotel, 288 S 2nd Street, Fairmont Hotel, City of San Jose, 33 S Third Street Apartments, City View Plaza, The 88, Local Color, Valley Transportation Authority, San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, Hyatt Place, AC Hotel, San Jose Museum of Art and Good Karma.