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New projects promote San Jose’s diverse artistic voices with $690,000 in Knight Foundation funds

Photo: Chamber Music Silicon Valley will present
Photo: Chamber Music Silicon Valley will present "Common Sounds," an ensemble of Western classical musicians and global artists that weaves together a variety of musical traditions. Photo courtesy of Chamber Music Silicon Valley.

From an exhibition of a renowned Vietnamese art collective to new operas based on the Latino experience, projects from 10 San Jose arts groups will receive $690,000 this year from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Many grantees reflect the city’s diverse communities – some offering different cultural perspectives in a single presentation. Sangam Arts, for example, will bridge cultures by pairing artists from different ethnic groups to jointly create new works that showcase the traditions of both groups. 

Others will use the funding to experiment with new technology, including immersive mapping with Opera Cultura and an Instagram-based arts journalism project by KQED.

“Few things bring people together as the arts do, something particularly important in a community as diverse as San Jose,” said Victoria Rogers, vice president for arts at Knight Foundation. “We’re excited to see how these performances and exhibitions are experienced, and the impact they have on the community at large.”

The recipients of this new Knight funding include:

San Jose Museum of Art Association ($50,000) – To present the first major survey of renowned Vietnamese art collective, The Propeller Group, in addition to community programming designed to provoke discussion and foster understanding

MACLA/Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana ($5,000) – To promote dynamic, contemporary Latino art, and bring it into people’s everyday lives by supporting this organization in creating art installations at the San Jose International Airport, in partnership with the City of San Jose

Chamber Music Silicon Valley ($10,000) – To build shared cultural experiences in San Jose through “Common Sounds,” an ensemble of Western classical musicians and global artists that weaves together a variety of musical traditions

Epic Immersive Labs ($30,000) – To support innovation in theater through “When We Awaken,” an immersive theatrical experience that integrates virtual reality and live performance while activating two historic buildings – the Fallon House and Peralta Adobe – in downtown San Jose

KQED ($20,000) – To experiment with new forms of arts journalism through a series of video campaigns on the local arts scene designed for and published on Instagram

Sangam Arts ($50,000) – To bridge cultural communities in San Jose by commissioning new multicultural works by pairs of artists from different culturally-rooted dance and music traditions

In addition, four arts organizations will receive multiple-year funding to help expand their ability to provide high-quality programming:

School of Arts and Culture ($200,000) – To provide artistic programming to East San Jose at Mexican Heritage Plaza and continue its leadership training program for cultural leaders of color

Opera Cultura ($75,000) – To support this company in creating three new operas based on the Latino experience, and integrating technology like augmented reality and projection mapping into its work to enhance performances

City Lights Theater ($150,000) – To build capacity around experimentation with new immersive technologies in theater, and to develop a plan to increase donor support

San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art ($200,000) – To increase San Jose residents’ access to contemporary art though multiyear support for “Sandbox Projects,” an ongoing series of site-specific installations at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit

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