Besides being a nice addition to San Joses Julian-St. James Quarter, the new mural of the Dancing Cat building on Julian Street, has an unexpected use.
“In the short amount of time it’s here, the mural has made the neighborhood safer because the traffic slows down to look at it instead of blowing through the intersection,” co-founder Ann Chasson said Saturday during a ceremony that also did the ribbon cutting ceremony was a “welcome back” in the cat adoption center and lounge. The center had cut operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A crowd waits in front of Dancing Cat in San Jose for the ribbon to be cut for “Becky,” a mural by artist Roan Victor, on Saturday, October 23, 2021. (Sal Pizarro / Bay Area News Group)
The mural “Becky” shows a fluffy calico cat that stares at the viewer in a very feline manner while it hugs a person’s arms. It was created by mural painter Roan Victor, who led a small team of artists to complete the mural at 702 E. Julian St. in less than a month. The calico at the heart of the mural is based on a Victor cat that died a few years ago.
“Becky the cat represents Roan’s cat,” said Chasson, “but the person represents the community – all of us.”
Victor – who, along with her husband, fellow artist Sean Boyles, owns the Arsenal art supply story and gallery in Japantown – describes the couple as “crazy cat people” with usually about seven cats walking around. “I think it’s great that there is this place where people can be with cats,” she said. “You can come here and get some cat attention.”
Muralist Roan Victor speaks in front of Dancing Cat in San Jose on October 23, 2021. (Sal Pizarro / Bay Area News Group)
Victor and Boyles created artwork for the interior of Dancing Cat when it took over a former liquor store seven years ago. When Lauren Slayton, manager of Dancing Cat, was looking for an artist for the mural, she didn’t have to look far. Dancing Cat co-founder Mary Rubin, who is also a senior project manager for the City of San Jose’s public arts program, agreed that Victor was the perfect choice.
“Roan has been a founding member of our community since 2015,” she said. “Part of the Dancing Cat’s identity is the creativity that Roan and Sean brought to us.”
CALL FOR CREATIVE CHILDREN: The Santa Clara County Health Department hopes a new video competition will raise awareness among young people about the COVID-19 vaccine and contain misinformation. It’s certainly worth a try, as only 75.6% of the county’s residents ages 12-17 are vaccinated – the lowest percentage among eligible age groups.
Santa Clara County’s 6th-12th grade students have until November 15 to enter the VaxUp video contest by creating a 30- to 60-second video about being vaccinated against COVID-19 using the hashtag #sccVaxUpVideo Post on TikTok or Instagram. Of course, there are rules and consent forms that need to be filled out, but it could be worth the effort: the top three videos will receive prizes of $ 1,500, $ 1,000, and $ 500, and the best video school will also receive $ 500.
You can read all the rules and conditions of participation at www.sccvaxupvideo.org.
SECRET STORY: We really needed the rain we got last weekend, but it looks like clear skies for this weekend – and that’s great news for visitors to History Park in San Jose, which has a special Halloween program on Friday and Saturday nights.
Three times every night – from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. – the Halloween Epic Haunted Light Show is projected onto the front of the Pacific Hotel, bringing jack-o’-lanterns, skeletons and other creepy visitors to life with songs and jokes to match this season (and is aimed at younger visitors ). There is also a pumpkin patch exhibit from the Bay Area Glass Institute, food trucks, and a cemetery near the Electric Light Tower.
Admission is $ 10 for visitors 12 years old and over and $ 5 for children 6-11 years old. More information is available at www.historysanjose.org.