Brightening San Jose's Japantown, One Mural at a Time

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While we're growing up, all of us are products of our immediate environment. But with age comes change. The influence starts to run in the other direction; we look around our immediate environment and think, “I live here and work here. How can I leave my mark on this?”

That's the case, at least, for San Jose native Juan Carlos Araujo, who's slowly been improving his neighborhood, one mural at a time. With dogged persistence, the artist and gallery owner began walking the streets of San Jose's Japantown, asking proprietors if they'd be interested in having an artist cover an otherwise bland wall with a colorful mural.

The result? Enough business owners said yes that murals now enliven the vibrant neighborhood, with closer human connections. “I'm invested here in San Jose,” says Araujo. “I originally opened the gallery here because we wanted to bring more of this culture to San Jose. This is my home.”

Watch as Araujo checks back in with various mural sites in the video above, and talks about the ways in which art brings a community together.

-- Gabe Meline