Public Art as Resistance in San Jose

Public Art as Resistance in San Jose



Public Art as Resistance in San José, an ongoing project with a series of activities that investigates the history of resistance embedded in downtown San José public art. The research required to create a walking tour, panel of art experts, and community exhibit each act as sites of community dialogue and engagement that can afford agency through art. The primary resulting activity, a guided walking tour, begins on the urban campus of San José State University and continues through downtown San José, highlighting a history of resistance and community empowerment through twelve unique works of public art. While the art works that make up this tour are among the many murals, monuments, sculptures and ephemeral pieces of pieces of public art in this area and in the city at large, this particular walking tour takes a singular approach by considering how San José’s communities actively challenge narrow and exclusionary interpretations of local history through public art creation. The digital footprint for this project as a static website and a self-guided tour using a free mobile app, will be amplified with proposed funding requests to the National Endowment for the Humanities to create an augmented reality version in a unique mobile app that will create a sustainable digital representation of this tour and all of its collaborative partnerships. We continue to add works of art (and unfortunately retire some due to demolition of murals on buildings) with each successful funding. The activities inherent to building this project may become one of the future HonorsX courses and continue the tradition of our SJSU students becoming tour guides and experts about the social justice of public art.

Publication Date



San Jose State University

Public Art as Resistance in San Jose