How South Bay art initiative looks to improve public spaces, environment

Zach Fuentes Image
Wednesday, September 27, 2023
How South Bay art initiative is improving public spaces, environment
Valley Water's Public Art Strategic Plan looks to bring more art to Santa Clara County's public spaces, in efforts to preserve waterways while providing a platform for local talent.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- In the South Bay, a new project is in the works that aims to use art to improve public spaces and in turn, help the environment.

Thousands of Volunteers across the state came together on the 39th Coastal Cleanup Day.

The efforts focused not just on beaches but local creeks and waterways including many in Santa Clara County.

"About 1,100 volunteers picked up almost 25,000 pounds worth of trash at about 52 sites here countywide," said Don Rocha, Valley Water's assistant officer of external affairs.

The weekend was a success, but Valley Water's work continues on long-term efforts to preserve our waterways and public spaces.

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One project in the works is the Public Art Strategic Plan, a plan to bring more art to Santa Clara County.

A mural at one of Valley Water's offices on Blossom Hill Road is an example the utility boasts.

"This is the perfect example of engaging the public and the community on our public art program," Rocha said. "This is what we're gonna build from going forward."

The mural was part of a pilot program that saw the local Youth Commission come together in its creation.

Though still in its early stages, the new plan hopes to bring in even more artwork like it.

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"It's been known that when you have public spaces like this, there's less impact on the environment as well," Rocha said while standing in front of the mural. "We have creeks and waterways that we're trying to keep litter and graffiti out of. So there's just a lot of public benefit in that."

Valley Water says it also wants the project to be a platform for local talent.

"We want to partner with local artists, and that's a big part of the effort that we're doing," Rocha said. "We're talking to educational institutions, we're talking to art institutions and we're also talking to other public agencies who do this as well on how they're engaging not just the community, but the local public artists as well."

The next step for Valley Water is hearing from the community about the specific areas where neighbors would like to see the artwork.

A public meeting is scheduled for Wednesday evening in person and via Zoom.

"From that time forward, we're going to work on putting that draft plan together and put that in front of our board for their comments and their hopeful consideration and approval," Rocha said.

For more information on Wednesday's community meeting, click here.

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