Meet Lou Jimenez: SJDA’s New Street Life Manager

March 27, 2024

When Lourdes “Lou” Jimenez heard about the Street Life Manager position open at the Downtown Association, she said “I didn’t know that was something someone could do for a living.”  Yet, the skills and requirements outlined in the job posting read as if she had been grooming herself for this job her entire adult life.

A working street artist who is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Urban Policy Regarding Art at SJSU, Jimenez most recently served as executive director of the 1Culture Gallery on East Santa Clara Street. She exhibited her own work in last year’s much touted Bay Area Legends Show, which was a curated exhibition of 20 graffiti artists who have left a mark on the evolution of graffiti culture.

In October, Lou was awarded the 2023/24 Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Research Fellowship by the Association of Arts Administration Educators for her investigative work in the intersection of EDI and arts management programs.

She worked with students at Hillbrook School on a newly completed mural project to demonstrate how public art can inspire people to take action. The finished Heterotopia spans an entire corridor at the Los Gatos campus and was painted by students, teachers and volunteers as a tribute to ocean life and the perils of pollution.

Jimenez also taught Art at the Santa Clara County Juvenile Detention Center, through a grant from SVCreates, and was lead tour guide and researcher for the Public Art as Resistance Tours given by SJSU in 2022 through an Abierto grant. Lou graduated from SJSU last spring with a major in Art History and a minor in Urban Studies.   

Lou JimenezThe Street Life Manager at SJDA is responsible for managing new beautification projects, as well as maintaining and sustaining existing murals, pocket parks, lighting installations, and planters. Her first large project is managing the asphalt mural painting on San Pedro Street, which will be unveiled in coming months.  She’s already hard at work, researching similar ground murals for best practices.

Lou’s passion for street art will serve her well in her new role at SJDA. She considers herself a Tactical Urbanist who wants to abide by the rules, and sometimes break them, to create public environments that appeal to civilians rather than engineers.

She is a lifelong resident of San Jose and currently resides in the Northside neighborhood of Downtown. Lou can be reached at and would love to hear from downtowners with big ideas.

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