San Jose: : Celebrating Creativity in Everyday Life: San José Office of Cultural Affairs Announces Six New Creative Ambassadors
The Californer/10168472



Elisabeth Handler, Public Information Manager, Office of Economic Development & Cultural Affairs

Kerry Adams Hapner, Director of Cultural Affairs

PHOTOS: Stephanie Barajas, Ricardo Cortez, Dana Harris Seegar, Eric Hayslett, Amy Hibbs, Brandon Luu

Celebrating Creativity in Everyday Life: San José Office of Cultural Affairs Announces Six New Creative Ambassadors

SAN JOSE, Calif. (December 20, 2021) -
The City of San José Office of Cultural Affairs is pleased to announce the selection of six local artists to serve as 2022 Creative Ambassadors. The role of the Creative Ambassadors is to champion the power of creative expression and engage residents in finding their own creative voice. Ambassadors serve a one-year term, starting January 1, 2022, during which they produce a creative project that invites active participation from residents and celebrates the diversity of San José's cultural communities.

The 2022 Creative Ambassadors represent a range of artistic disciplines and share a deep commitment to San José's cultural community. The Office of Cultural Affairs is pleased to announce the selection of the following artists as 2022 Creative Ambassadors:
  • Stephanie Barajas is a San José-based Mexican actor, photographer, and arts administrator. Stephanie is a Steering Committee Member of genARTS Silicon Valley, a Multicultural Arts Leadership Institute (MALI) Alumni, and 2021 Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana (MACLA) Cultural Power Fellow. She is also on the executive board of the Pacifica Spindrift Players and continues to pursue her passion for acting with Teatro Vision and More Más Marami Arts. She recently joined the team at Art Builds Community, a women-led public art planning and consulting firm. Stephanie's creative Expression project I Am My Body will center around portraits and interviews with folks from diverse communities, examining the relationship we have with our bodies and the issues that we face due to our physical appearance.
  • Ricardo Cortez is a Chicano digital media artist exploring the intersections of technology, sculpture and culture. Through these media, he reimagines his Chicanismo, suggesting a new approach in studying our active relationships with technology and longing for nostalgia. He continues to exhibit, teach and produce culturally significant work that encourages interaction – inviting the audience to become an integral part of the art. Ricardo works as a Marketing Director at Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship of Santa Clara University and is actively cataloging a digital archive of rare Lowrider print material, and remains dedicated to his pursuit of service to the community. His creative expression project includes a series of workshops for youth incorporating digital and traditional media to produce one-of-a-kind sound-reactive artworks around San José's rich Lowrider culture. The workshops will culminate in a community art exhibit.
  • Dana Harris Seegar is a printmaker and teaching artist, whose work is influenced by her experience growing up as a second generation Baltic American. Dana is the Co-Founder of the School of Visual Philosophy art studio and school. She is also a 2020 Santa Clara County Artist Laureate, and a core member of San José Arts Advocates. Dana's creative expression project Dialects of Art includes a series of public lectures and workshops designed to help artists communicate their own stories through their artwork and understand the translation of visuals across cultures. She will collaborate with artists working in different mediums and from different cultural backgrounds on the project.
  • Eric Hayslett is the Founder of e2Music Productions, Media & Education. He created and teaches the after-school workshops, "Lyrically Speaking" and "Drum It Up" at schools throughout the San José Unified School District, Berryessa, Patterson Unified School District ASP, and Newman/Crows Landing Unified School District ASP. Since 2005, he has led workshops for the San José Multicultural Artists Guild Arts Education Program. He is also a mentor for the Links-San José Chapter Arts & Education Facet, as well as a multi-instrumentalist and publisher. Eric hosts the weekly radio broadcast The Drive Thru on 91.5 FM. Eric's creative expression project will center around a series of percussion workshops for families in the Stevens Creek and San Tomas neighborhoods of San José, which repurpose, re-engineer, and recycle reusable containers as instruments.
  • Amy Hibbs is a visual artist and environmentalist whose work addresses themes of belonging and empathy through interaction with the urban landscape. She received her MFA from Mills College and received the graduate affiliate award at the Headlands Center for the Arts. She is a recent recipient of a printmaking residency at the Palo Alto Art Center. Amy's creative project, Transformation Station, is a participatory art piece that uses the creative output of visitors to feed hungry composting worms. Participants are invited to contribute a bad thought, deadly secret, or expression of grief in the form of a drawing or just words on newsprint paper. The paper is then shredded and fed to the worms. The resulting worm castings are rich fertilizer for nourishing plant life. Participants are invited to take the castings home for use in their own gardens. The community farm, Veggielution, will host Transformation Station at their Emma Prusch Farm site and at their South First Street pocket park.
  • Brandon Luu is a poet born and raised in San José. He serves on the Poetry Center San José's Board of Directors, and he received his Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from San José State University. For him, poetry is an opportunity to bring people together, regardless of age or circumstance. Brandon's creative expression project will focus on the creation of a collaborative art piece titled We Are San José, which will feature art by local Asian artists and poetry written and submitted by the community. Brandon will host a social media campaign to collect art, photos, and videos showcasing different parts of San José. The images will then become the inspiration for poems and compiled into mural.
The 2022 Creative Ambassadors were selected through a competitive panel review process that considers applicants' artistic track records and histories of community engagement work. Emphasis was also placed on artists that are deeply rooted within San José's diverse cultural communities. Practicing artists of all disciplines were invited to apply.

More on The Californer
In addition to producing a creative project involving the community, the Ambassadors' scope of work includes promoting creative expression through social media, participating in interviews, and helping to promote and participate in the WeCreate408 campaign ( WeCreate408 is the Office of Cultural Affairs' month-long creativity challenge, currently scheduled for October 2022. By working with the ambassadors to tailor the messaging around the power of creative expression to their networks, the goal is for San José residents to elevate their own creativity and celebrate the role it plays in their everyday lives. In doing so, residents will experience the arts as a vital means of connection to themselves and to others. Support for the 2022 Creative Ambassadors is provided in part by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and David and Lucille Packard Foundation.

About the City of San José
With more than one million residents, San José is one of the most diverse large cities in the United States, is Northern California's largest city, and is the 10th largest city in the nation. San José's transformation into a global innovation center has resulted in one of the largest concentrations of technology companies and expertise in the world. In 2011, the City adopted Envision San José 2040, a long-term growth plan that sets forth a vision and a comprehensive road map to guide the City's anticipated growth through the year 2040.

About the San José Office of Cultural Affairs
The City of San José recognizes that the arts and culture are essential elements in the character and quality of life in a vibrant community and seeks to ensure that San José is an effective hub of a wide array of arts and cultural opportunities throughout Silicon Valley. The Office of Cultural Affairs, a division of Economic Development in the City Manager's Office, is the lead City of San José agency for stewarding a vibrant arts sector.

Filed Under: Government, City

Show All News | Report Violation


Latest on The Californer