The Project

The Japantown Mural Project is a celebration of the vibrancy of San Jose's historic Japantown neighborhood through artworks by 50 local artists. The environment is a barren, undeveloped plot of land that once served as the City of San Jose's Maintenance Yard. Chain-link fencing is now covered with more than 60 large mesh panels of color. It stretches a quarter of a city block along 6th and Jackson Streets in the heart of Japantown.

The subject matter is highly interpretive, including personal and commissioned works, and encompasses a wide variety of mediums and aesthetics. It also includes references to the site's former life; 100 years ago, it was one of San Jose's very first Chinatown settlements known as 'Heinlenville.' A majority of the artists maintain art studios in Japantown, have displayed their artwork in neighborhood galleries, or consider this wonderful place their home.

The Japantown Mural Project is truly representative of its own unique community and will be enjoyed and appreciated for years to come.



by Katherine Levin-Lau

The Artwork
Much of my current work deals with images from natural history, jumbled together in nonsensical placements somewhat like the couriosity cabinettes of old.

For the two Japantown Mural Project panels, I chose images that in Chinese traditions represent various kinds of good fortune.

The Peony: prosperity and nobility
The Ginseng Root: longevity
Two Magpies: double happiness
The Deer: prosperity
The Pomegranate: fertility
The Spider: happiness
The Tangerine: wealth and peace

Education: MFA, San Jose State University

Recent Solo Exhibitions:
2012 - Gallerie Sebastianskapelle, Ulm, Germany
2009 - Bluseed Studios, Saranac Lake, NY/ Bill Gould Gallery, San Jose, CA.
2008 - James Byrnes Institute, Stuttgart, Germany
2006 - Mount San Antonio College, Walnut, CA.
2005 - Butters Gallery, Portland, OR.

Recent Group Exhibitions:
2012 - California Centered; Printmaking
2012 - Merced Arts Center, Honorable Mention, Merced, CA/ Metamorphosis, Butters Gallery, Portland, OR.
2011 - American Prints, curated by Walter Bischoff Gallery, Stuttgart, Germany
2010 - Mazatlan Museum of Contemporary Art, Mazatlan, Mexico

Sponsored By

Japantown Community Congress of San Jose · Office of the Consulate General of Japan · Wesley United Methodist Church
Jack's Bar & Lounge · Dr. Stephani Nguyen of Japantown Dental · Kay's Shiseido · Dr. Jerrold Hiura & Lucia Cha

Contemporary Asian Theater Scene · Japantown Neighborhood Association · Union Bank of California · Chris & Minako Tsuji

Japanese American Museum of San Jose · Yu Ai Kai Senior Center · Banana Crepe · Halcrow Partners · Pan Pacific Bank · Alex Alsorady & Darcie Kiyan
Sophie Horiuchi Forrester · Helen Hayashi · Roy & PJ Hirabayashi · Aggie Idemoto · Reiko Iwanaga · Jeanne Katsuro · Tamon Norimoto · Kristin Okimoto
Jeffrey Oldham · John Ristow · Rev. Gerald & Kathy Sakamoto · Victoria Taketa · Leah Toeniskoetter · Joe Yasutake

With Thanks

Japantown Community Congress of San Jose · The City of San Jose Arts Commission · Dr. Jerrold Hiura · The Rast Family
Corinne Okada Takara · Ruth Tunstall-Grant · Cherri Lakey · DJ Ashford
Empire Seven Studios · The Arsenal · Sign-a-Rama of Downtown San Jose

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