GorePark.3.12

Gore Park is located in the SoFA district or South First Area of downtown San Jose, California. The district is home to a diverse mix of arts organizations, creative businesses, high-rise housing and restaurants/cafes. The small pocket park is the only green space in the district, and will serve three adjacent neighborhoods as well as the district residents. ArtPlace support is enabling an expansion and enhancement of the park to provide a flexible, usable space for organizations, families and individuals – an “outdoor living room” for the surrounding community. The project is part of a broader effort to create a strong identity for SoFA as San Jose’s arts and entertainment district.

Erika Justis, director of creative place for 1stACT Silicon Valley talks about the collaboration that is at the core of the project:

ArtPlace: Who are your partners on the project?

Justis: This project evolved out of a key partnership between 1stACT, the San Jose Downtown Association and the SoFA district. It is the capstone in a 3-year effort to transform the district. The future of the park depends on the adjacent arts organizations and their use of the space, so they have been deeply involved from the beginning.

ArtPlace: What is the toughest thing about collaboration?

Justis: The most difficult part of any collaboration is finding the balance between the collective good and the individual needs of the various partners. The arts organizations involved in the project are each working hard to thrive in challenging times. They have diverse strengths and vulnerabilities. They are willing to invest time and effort in this project beyond their own doors because they helped co-create the vision for the space and see the long-term benefits for the district.

ArtPlace: What is the most rewarding thing about collaboration?

Justis: There is true power in effective collaboration. No individual organization could accomplish this project alone. The greatest rewards become evident when the whole really does become greater than the sum of the parts. Success will bring a collective pride and sense of accomplishment that will become part of the identity and character of the district. Gore Park will represent the openness, creativity and diversity of SoFA.

ArtPlace: What advice would you give to those having trouble making a collaboration work?

Justis: The co-creation of a vision is key to collaboration. Each partner needs to feel ownership of the work being done and responsibility for its success.

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