Street in city painted in bright geometric colors
San Jose residents stroll through San Pedro Square during lunch hours on June 5, 2024. Photo by Kassia Bonesteel.

The promenade at San Pedro Square has a stunning new look after more than 1,000 volunteers picked up a paint roller.

A new mural called “Threads Woven” has dramatically changed San Pedro Square. The brainchild of the San Jose Downtown Association and arts nonprofit Local Color, the mural was funded through the Adobe Hometown Grant. The mural cost about $100,000, according to the association, and is part of an effort to engage residents and draw more foot traffic into the city’s core.

Volunteers work to fill in portions of the mural at the end of May. Photo courtesy of San Jose Downtown Association.

Alex Stettinski, CEO of the San Jose Downtown Association, said community involvement was key during the early stages of planning and that his team put a lot of focus on finding a way for locals to participate in the mural’s creation.

“I really do think that this mural will become a symbol of San Jose,” Stettinski told San José Spotlight.

Designed by artist Jimmy Fonesca, known professionally as Jimmy Paints, the mural is the result of four months of collaboration and organizing.

The vivid colors of the mural — hot pinks, sunshine yellows and sky blues — stretch the length of the square between Santa Clara and St. John streets. The mural adds a vibrant backdrop to the commercial and dining area that’s become a downtown hot spot since the street first closed during the pandemic.

Local Color and the San Jose Downtown Association decided on a paint-by-numbers approach to the 12,000-square-foot mural, which allowed volunteers to each paint their own section — making this an almost entirely community-completed project. A group of San Jose State University art students stenciled the digital design into squares on the street.

The initial plan was to paint the mural in five days. On the first day, 1,250 volunteers signed up. So many, in fact, that by the third day the mural was completed.

“People were so eager to do it,” Stettinski said.

The downtown association sees the mural’s eye-popping colors as just the first step in bringing more life and foot traffic into the downtown and San Pedro Square area, and it appears the plan is working.

There are several businesses operating in the alcoves of the Market Street parking garage that overlook the mural, an unconventional storefront that opened for commercial use after San Pedro Square closed to traffic. Plant Slut, which opened in 2022, is one of those businesses.

“I feel like there is definitely more interest in the area, I enjoy the collectivism it’s now brought,” Rebecca Iofis, who works at Plant Slut, told San José Spotlight. “It’s really great to see (customers’) faces when I tell them that it’s permanent.”

Plant Slut’s storefront overlooks the new mural at San Pedro Square. Photo by Kassia Bonesteel.

Adobe provides ongoing financial support to a collection of eight San Jose nonprofits through its $2 million Hometown Grant, as a part of the tech company’s efforts to support the community, including arts and culture focused nonprofits like Local Color.

“We remain dedicated to finding innovative ways to honor the city’s rich and creative legacy through projects like the San Pedro mural, the largest public artwork in downtown San Jose,” Amy White, the global head of corporate social responsibility at Adobe, told San José Spotlight. “This new landmark mural embodies the vibrant spirit of community and togetherness that define San Jose, both in its design and creation.”

Michelle and Patrick McClain, owners of nearby jewelry business Boho Moon Art, said the mural was a “good use of funds,” as opposed to previously discussed plans for the closed street. The two also mentioned that although the mural hasn’t been completed for long, they are already seeing its effect.

“More people are curious and are coming, taking pictures and videos for Instagram on the mural,”  Michelle told San José Spotlight.

Contact Kassia Bonesteel at [email protected] or follow @kekb2004 on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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