Each year, the San José Office of Cultural Affairs (OCA) recognizes the need for art on a day-to-day basis. Through public art, programming, and grants, San Jose’s OCA aims to give back to the community in heartfelt, intentional ways. This year they have brought back the Creative Ambassadors program, recognizing a range of artistic disciplines practiced by locals who share a deep commitment to San Jose’s cultural community. The 2023 Creative Ambassadors are Yoon Chung Han, Patron Paule, Suhita Shirodkar, and the artist collective Together We Create.
Creative Ambassadors are selected through a competitive panel review process that considers the applicant’s artistic track record and their history of community engagement. Emphasis is also placed on artists deeply rooted within the San Jose community. Practicing artists of all disciplines are invited to apply. The role of the Creative Ambassadors is to champion the power of creative expression and engage residents in finding their own creative voice. Ambassadors serve a one-year term, during which they produce an innovative project that invites active participation from residents and celebrates the diversity of the city’s cultural communities.
This year’s Creative Ambassadors are producing a series of events where locals can participate in their city’s history, experiencing the arts as a vital means of connection to themselves and others. Participants will elevate their creativity and celebrate its role in their everyday lives. Through these projects, each Creative Ambassador will demonstrate their love and passion for the city and its community. Support for the 2023 Creative Ambassadors is provided in part by grants from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.
Yoon Chung Han brings together two building blocks of San Jose—art and technology. Her project allows residents to record their stories verbally and then use that recording to create a 3D-printed artwork using recycled materials. Yoon aims to raise awareness about sustainability and cultural heritage by interviewing under-served, multi-ethnic community members in San Jose and the region. “San Jose is a really cool, interesting city. With San Jose being the heart of Silicon Valley and having a multicultural community, I thought it was important to highlight the sounds of the city and its community. The sculptures are like a time capsule,” she says.
“I hope people will better understand how art and technology can live symbiotically.”
“We should take a moment to listen to one another, listen to our surroundings, and understand one another on a deeper level.” As an attendee of Yoon’s workshop, residents can participate by verbally sharing their stories or a meaningful memory of San Jose. She will then convert the sound into a 3D-rendered sculpture. The San Jose community will have a physical record of these audio memories. “I hope people will better understand how art and technology can live symbiotically. Public art workshops are essential to give local residents access to technology and gain inspiration for their future careers and to challenge themselves,” Yoon explains.
Yoon is an interaction designer, multimedia artist, and researcher. Her research includes data visualization, biometric data visualization, and sonification—a new interface for musical expression—and mobile user experience design.