In early December, Local Color, a haven for artists located in an abandoned Ross Dress for Less store in downtown San Jose, has become one of the core focuses for local artists. The skeleton of the mega chain remains, but the bones are not bare. Despite the aisles gone and the racks obsolete, the vacant space emits a welcoming glow of creativity and individuality. A mural to the side of the gutted store is a colorful collage of individual artist’s contributions, with the words “LOCAL COLOR” proudly displayed, hiding in the array of illustrations. Shelves of local, handmade goods line the walls, each made by an artist, special in its own. Each section in the space is partitioned off, creating a personalized lot for artists showcasing their work. An open floor space remains unoccupied for the use of dance shows, yoga classes, band performances, and open mic sessions.
Technical director of Local Color Christopher Morris describes the space as a “creative haven to take collective of artists in residence making pieces and producing work. The space itself is run sort of like a community center.”
Local Color is funded by community promoting foundation, the Knight Foundation. The space is also driven by the organization Exhibition District. Known for being a powerhouse for San Jose muralists, the organization plans to implement artistic venues like Local Color in the vacant spaces of San Jose.
“We work a lot with our artists in the local area in order to implement those murals as a part of city beautification. Something we have identified on with artists is that they don’t have a lot of space to work on in large format” says Morris.
Passers-by walk in and browse a large inventory of vintage clothing and antique treasures, can play a tune on a piano, chill under the plethora of pillows veiled under a Bohemian-esque cloth canopy, or roam around and savour the art that wraps the space.
Only there for a few more months, Local Color’s artistic hub containing a spectrum of work from artists all over San Jose is worth the drive downtown. Check out them out at @localcolorsj on Facebook and Instagram.