by Flora Moreno de Thompson
Event images by JP Costanzo
Art reflects the soul of the community and we are all better human beings because we have it in our lives.
This is what Kerry Adams-Hapner, Director of City of San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs, wanted everyone to know at the convening on creative placemaking at City Hall last Friday. The event, titled Platform: Building Networks to Catalyze Creative Urban Culture, brought together artists and arts-rooted businesses to talk more about creative urban culture and placemaking.
Creative placemaking, according to Ann Markusen and Anne Gadwa, “animates public and private spaces, rejuvenates structures and streetscapes, improves local business viability and public safety, and brings diverse people together to celebrate, inspire and be inspired.” Markusen and Gadwa authored a white paper for the National Endowment for the Arts on creative placemaking, which cited San Jose’s Zero1 Biennial as a successful case of creative placemaking.
Appropriately, Platform was held on the opening day of this year’s Zero1 Art Biennial. The theme for 2012 is “Seeking Silicon Valley” and focuses on the intersection of art and technology. “It’s not about looking at the geographic nature of Silicon Valley, but the very idea that Silicon Valley represents,” says Joel Slayton, Zero1 Executive Director.
San Jose’s own creative entrepreneurs and innovators presented at Platform to share their own examples of creative urban culture. Daniel Garcia, Cultivator at Content Magazine, Adam Mayberry of Mayberry Workshop, Marie Millares of SJ Made, Amie Frisch of Veggielution, and Gretchen Baisa of NextSpace all gave Pecha Kucha presentations which lasted six minutes and 40 seconds and introduced by San Jose’s Pecha Kucha coordinator, Ric Bretschneider. Pecha Kucha, Japanese for chatter, is a presentation style intended to keep the audience captivated because of its brevity. It consists of twenty slides which are shown for twenty seconds at a time. (Pecha Kucha Video Page)
Along with a Pecha Kucha presentation, panelists from across the US discussed how creative entrepreneurs are driving creative urban culture. Attendees also participated in a conversation on innovative examples of creative placemaking in California.
The Office of Cultural Affairs held a resource fair at Platform to give artists and arts-rooted businesses the chance to make connections. Besides contributing to the cultural vibrancy of San Jose, these creative entrepreneurs are also vital to the cultural economy of the city. The City of San Jose hopes to attract, retain, and support the creative talent in both the non-profit and commercial sectors, says Adams Hapner. “Only by working together can we reach the next stage.”