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San Jose community works together to paint giant mural on downtown street

San Jose community turn downtown street into colorful canvas
San Jose community turn downtown street into colorful canvas 03:26

It's one of the largest mural projects ever to take place in San Jose, and it's happening in the street.

Community members came together to paint a giant under the watchful eye of lead artist Jimmy Paints.

"All of the paint has been done by volunteers, so one of the most important things about this is that the community has ownership. It's not just me, it's for the city, it's for the people," Paints said. 

Paints is from East San Jose and said his art is influenced by the community around him.

"The title of this is Threads Woven, and it's based on a serape blanket. And what I wanted to do is take the lines and shapes of a sarape and have them morph and intersect to represent the diverse cultures within San Jose."

He was selected by the nonprofit Local Color and the San Jose Downtown Association which are sponsoring the block-long mural.

"I sort of nicknamed this section the teal runway because people are going to be coming and going to the Sharks games, so I wanted to have this as a sort of entryway for that, so that's why I chose these colors for that," he added.

San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan and several City Council members gave volunteers a helping hand with paint brushes and rollers.

The project has an economic — not just artistic purpose —with the goal of helping to breathe life back into one of the most important tax-generating districts in the city.

Earlier this year, the street was permanently closed to car traffic to make it an inviting, pedestrian friendly location.

"Creating a space that's safe, that's clean, that's vibrant, that has public art is one way that the city can facilitate that rebound, support our small businesses, and entrepreneurs and really assure that our best days are ahead of us," said Mahan.

Many of the volunteers are people who come to San Pedro Street to eat, drink and shop.

Mo Hamilton works for a local tech company and took the time to lay down one piece of this kaleidoscope of color.

"I'm here every weekend and so I thought why not come out here and be a part of it and pay my tribute to the community," Hamilton said.

Jimmy Paints is currently working towards his art degree, with the goal of one day teaching.

"I hope this is motivation and inspiration for young artists on their creative path and show that there will be opportunities for them to share their art," he said.

And with this project, he already has one big lesson in the books.

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