H&A in San José to Connect Spartan Creatives with Community Partners
How can artists in San José partner with San José State University faculty members and community members to bring ideas to life?
At SJSU, artists, partner organizations, students and faculty alike need look no further than the College of Humanities and the Arts. The college is hosting the second annual H&A in San José: Campus and Community Series event, which offers faculty and community members the chance to share three-minute presentations of research and artistic works-in-progress and answer questions during a live Q&A. The event provides opportunities for faculty members to connect across departments, identify ideas for future collaborations and funding, and establish partnerships with the greater San José artistic community.
The event, which takes place between 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. on Zoom Friday, Feb. 25, is free and open to the public, especially individuals and organizations dedicated to humanities and the arts. Registration is required.
Creating a space for creatives to come together
Last year’s event led to several successful collaborations, evidence that the college’s commitment to H&A in Action — an initiative that sponsors more than 500 intellectual, cultural, and artistic events, performances, and exhibits annually — is making an impact on and off campus, said Shannon Miller, dean of the College of Humanities and the Arts.
“H&A in San José connects our students with the community in productive ways,” she said. “Students learn from the community, and the community learns from students and faculty. Not only that, but this is proof of our commitment to live our geography. Because SJSU is in downtown San José, at the physical center of the city, that means we should strengthen these connections with community organizations.”
Miller added that she witnessed at least four productive partnerships begin at last year’s event, including an exciting opportunity for Assistant Professor of Digital Media Art Rhonda Holberton’s students.
Thanks to a partnership she made with the San José Museum of Art (SJMA), Holberton collaborated with the museum’s curatorial and digital development team on a project with one of her SJSU summer classes. The result was The Identity Factory, an interpretive online gallery experience for Hito Steyerl’s Factory of the Sun installation, currently viewable at SJMA.
Holberton, who serves on the H&A Research Committee and is spearheading the event, is hopeful that the Feb. 25 event will yield just as many, if not more, collaborations between the university and its partners across the region.
“Frequently, faculty are asked to present on topics when they are done (with a project), which is wonderful, but if you are trying to get a project off the ground and make community connections, it’s better to present earlier on,” she said.
“This way, we can connect people early enough so partners can have an impact. My broader goal is not just to connect people project-to-project, but to build robust partnerships with people in the community to make meaningful relationships for future collaboration.”
In addition to offering a venue for faculty and artistic partners to share ideas, H&A in San José satisfied a universal craving for human interaction during the COVID-19 pandemic, said Holberton.
“I wasn’t anticipating how powerful it would feel to be part of a community again,” she added. “We have all pivoted during the pandemic to an online environment, so it is great to come up for air and see all the great things that people are working on and get inspired. Although it is online, it is very much a place-making experience.”
Cultural organizations, nonprofits and artistic partners have been invited to present, alongside SJSU faculty from all 11 college departments. While she hopes to invite undergraduate and grad students to present at future events, Holberton invites the public to tune in on Feb. 25.
“If you are curious about forming public partnerships, this is a great place to see some of the projects that could become potential collaborations,” she added. “This could provide the opportunity to forge long-standing community connections.”