Local artists transform Downtown San Jose with Black Lives Matter murals

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Local Color SJ, a Woman Powered 501(c)(3) Nonprofit, has always dedicated itself to supporting artists in the local creative community. In light of the outcry surrounding social injustice, the organization has adjusted its focus with the "Rise SJ" project.

"The goal of Rise SJ is to stand in solidarity with local artists, businesses and community volunteers to utilize art and Local Color's resources in the call to dismantle systemic racism felt at home and throughout our country," Local Color SJ Founder and Executive Director Erin Salazar says.

Rise SJ is giving Bay Area artists the chance to stand together with the Black Lives Matter movement by transforming boarded up storefronts into murals.

"We were able to work with 25 artists and develop 22 new murals," Local Color SJ program manager Haley Cardamon shares.

"We really believe that public art is the highest form of art because of its accessibility," Salazar adds.

The project began on May 29, during the start of nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd. "Being a Black person and seeing what is happening, or what's been happening to us...not being able to go to every single protest, this is how I'm gonna be part of this movement and make my mark, literally," artist Paige Mason reveals.

"We all have our voice, we just sometimes don't know how to express ourselves verbally," Artist Arely Cardenas says, "So I think it's so important to have artwork to really be able to evoke any type of emotions or expression."

Artist Tomas 'Wisper' Talamantes adds, "We're all diverse, we're all different, but that diversity is what makes us great."

Although the murals are temporary, Local Color SJ is making future plans to display the murals in a socially distanced art show.

Learn more about Local Color SJ here.