Celebrating a Partnership

Ten years ago, when the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library on the grounds of San Jose State opened its doors, it was the only example nationwide of a city and university coming together to co-develop and co-manage a library.

And not just any library, but a crown jewel, with distinctive architecture and art installations designed to inspire learners from all walks of life in a valley whose hallmark is innovation and education.

So when library officials set out to produce materials celebrating the 10th anniversary of the city-university partnership, they sought artwork reflecting the library’s unique attributes.

For this, they turned to a very talented group of SJSU art students under the instruction of Professor Gale Antokal. Their assignment? To paint the library from their own perspectives as students and patrons but to also weave in the city-university connections, the pathways from the city onto campus and vice versa.

The result is these gorgeous watercolors, which adorn street banners and posters getting the word out about the kickoff for the month-long celebration. President Mohammad Qayoumi will join Mayor Chuck Reed 11 a.m. Sept. 5 in the the lobby of King Library, born of a partnership that remains unique a full decade later.

“Picturing Our Library: Watercolors by SJSU Art Students,” an exhibition featuring 18 of the student watercolors, opens Sept. 3 on the fourth floor, and will continue through the end of the month. Rendered this spring, these paintings captures the remarkable vantage points of interior and exterior landscapes of the King Library.

Here’s how organizers summarized the show:

“Our library is a center for knowledge, a symbol of innovation, a place of reflection, and it is a playground for the curious and imaginative. Highlighting the multiplicity our library, each watercolor presents our library as a monumental feat of architecture, intellectual resources, and cumulative experiences from our community. Our library gives its patrons as much as we give it, and the heart of our library is the bond we have chosen to cherish and develop over the past 10 years.  Our library is a hub of possibility—whether inside it, outside it, or beyond it—our library is always with us.”

Learn more about the King Library 10th Anniversary Celebration.