Downtown San José was recently recognized among America’s Top ArtPlaces in 2013 by ArtPlace for having an abundance of cultural offerings, venues, and social opportunities that enliven the community and make it a place where people and businesses want to be. In particular, San José was noted for combining art, high-tech and environmental sustainability creating a city center that looks, feels and acts like the Capital of Silicon Valley.

“ArtPlace has been a tremendous advocate of our efforts for developing an invigorating and distinct city art scene by contributing more than $1,600,000 in grants,” said Kim Walesh, Director of Economic Development and Chief Strategist for the City of San José. “We have utilized these funds to develop a creative environment that supports and attracts innovative people and organizations.”

ArtPlace’s $1,600,000 investment has supported the Illuminating Downtown Project, improvements to Parque de los Pobladores in the South First area district, and the new ZERO1 Garage. ArtPlace is a collaboration of leading national and regional foundations, banks, and federal agencies committed to accelerating “creative placemaking” – putting art at the heart of a portfolio of strategies designed to revitalize communities nationwide. America’ s Top ArtPlaces were identified as being exceptionally successful in combining the arts, artists, and venues for creativity and expression with independent businesses, restaurants, and a walkable lifestyle to make vibrant neighborhoods.

“The concentration of independent and small businesses combined with the arts in a very walkable area makes Downtown San José the Top ArtPlace in the metro area,” noted ArtPlace Director Carol Coletta. “Downtown San José’s position right at the center of Silicon Valley makes it a critical place for contemporary cultural expression. ZERO1 Garage, the innovative illuminati on projects, MACLA and the San José Museum of Art combine to make Downtown San José the kind of place people want to be.”

“The development of Downtown San José’s cultural infrastructure and creative environment has been a successful collaboration among many public and private partners,” said Director of Cultural Affairs Kerry Adams-Hapner. “These partnerships have helped put Downtown San José on the map as the cultural center of the Silicon Valley.” America’s Top ArtPlaces is a new annual ArtPlace initiative recognizing neighborhoods in the largest 44 metropolitan areas in the country where the arts are central to creating the kinds of places t hat bring people together.

The complete list, which is not ranked, is available for download at: cles/americas-top-artplaces-2013-2/.

The process of identifying the America’s To p ArtPlaces involved an initial search of 33,000 zip codes to find areas that scored highest on a set of six indicators identified by Impresa, Inc., a Portland-based consulting firm specializing in the study of metropolitan economies. Four of the indicators measure ingredients of vibrancy: the number of retail and service businesses; the percentage of independent businesses; the neighborhood’s Walk Score; and the percentage of workers in creative occupations living in the neighborhood. Two arts-related indicators were also used: the number of arts-related non-profits and the number of arts-related businesses. Finally, neighborhood scores were normalized for family income so that neighborhoods with the highest concentration of income did not skew the results.