I took these photos while exploring various downtown San Jose neighborhoods. After graduating from college, I moved back to San Jose and felt inspired to re-discover my hometown's terrain. Each of the places featured resonated with me for specific reasons. The Virgin Mary alleyway mural (painted by Carlos-RMK and Eli Lippert) and the front yard altar are located in residential Northside neighborhoods. These Catholic traditions are visual homages to the large Latinx population that is present in San Jose. On the edge of downtown and near the railroad tracks is a collection of disparate graffiti. This spot serves as a reminder of the graffiti culture and artistic drive that is present but understated in the city. Near the university, off of 10th and San Fernando, is a parking garage. This is one of my favorite spots in downtown simply because of the way the Palm Trees line the horizon--a nod to quintessential California. In a city that is becoming known for its high rise housing developments and start-up tech companies, there are hidden gems nestled within San Jose that juxtapose the forces that are rapidly dominating Silicon Valley. They are dear to me and serve as a reminder of why I continue to call this place my home. These havens are scattered around the city and are accessible to anyone who may be looking.
LEIA DELABAHAN was born and raised in the south side area of San Jose. After graduating from UC Santa Cruz, she returned to her hometown and now resides in downtown San Jose where she makes and sells her artwork under the moniker Happy Meeal. You can view her handmade goodies online at http://www.etsy.com/shop/theHappyMeeal.