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If you consider yourself at all creative and want to feel like a talentless hack, you should take a stroll around downtown San Jose, where 100 utility doors and boxes have been covered with stunning artwork created by San Jose high school students.

Last week, the San Jose Downtown Foundation — which has sponsored the Downtown Doors program for the past 12 years — honored the 22 students whose work was chosen from more than 130 entrants to be added to the ever-evolving urban gallery (more information is available at www.sjdowntown.com/downtown_doors). All the paintings and photographs selected are amazing, and several are so compelling that you can stand there looking and wondering, “How did they do that?”

Fortunately, you can find out the answer to that question this year. Many of the pieces include QR codes that can be read by a smartphone and link to a video of the artist talking about the work. Having talked to several of them at the San Jose Museum of Art during Thursday”s reception, I can tell you these kids are passionate about their art. And it”s a great thing that we can all share in that passion.

THE LONG MEOW: Fans of the furry felines at the Dancing Cat in San Jose can rejoice in the news that the cat cafe — originally planned as a monthlong pop-up — will be sticking around through the summer. The venue, where people can hang out with the cats while enjoying coffee, tea or soft drinks, has proved popular enough to warrant an extension for six to eight weeks and will be examining its long-term prospects during that time.

Co-founder Mary Rubin says she”s happy to see so many successful adoptions come out of the Dancing Cat as well as the engagement with the community around its location at the corner of North 15th and Julian streets.”Neighbors are meeting each other here for the first time, and we”ve had a good number of repeat visitors who are simply seeking community — looking to spend time with other people who share a passion for cats,” she said.

Ann Chasson, the other co-founder, said several donations, including from San Jose City Councilmen Raul Peralez, Pierluigi Oliverio and Ash Kalra, encouraged the Dancing Cat to continue and work on a strategic plan for its future. To chill with the little kitties, you can make a reservation at www.thedancingcat.org. It”s open Wednesday through Sunday, with a donation of $10 per adult and $5 per child under 10 requested for an hourlong visit.

AWARD AWAITS: CommUniverCity San Jose is one of four regional winners of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Engagement Scholarship Award. That”s great news as the three-way partnership between the city, San Jose State University and the surrounding community celebrates its 10th anniversary.

The national award, which includes $20,000 and a sculpture, will be presented at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities annual meeting in November in Indianapolis. As a regional winner, San Jose State”s program is guaranteed a $5,000 prize, and that”s nothing to sniff at — even without the sculpture.

Contact Sal Pizarro at spizarro@mercurynews.com.

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Pizarro: New wave of student art for San Jose”s Downtown Doors program
PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

If you consider yourself at all creative and want to feel like a talentless hack, you should take a stroll around downtown San Jose, where 100 utility doors and boxes have been covered with stunning artwork created by San Jose high school students.

Last week, the San Jose Downtown Foundation — which has sponsored the Downtown Doors program for the past 12 years — honored the 22 students whose work was chosen from more than 130 entrants to be added to the ever-evolving urban gallery (more information is available at www.sjdowntown.com/downtown_doors). All the paintings and photographs selected are amazing, and several are so compelling that you can stand there looking and wondering, “How did they do that?”

Fortunately, you can find out the answer to that question this year. Many of the pieces include QR codes that can be read by a smartphone and link to a video of the artist talking about the work. Having talked to several of them at the San Jose Museum of Art during Thursday”s reception, I can tell you these kids are passionate about their art. And it”s a great thing that we can all share in that passion.

THE LONG MEOW: Fans of the furry felines at the Dancing Cat in San Jose can rejoice in the news that the cat cafe — originally planned as a monthlong pop-up — will be sticking around through the summer. The venue, where people can hang out with the cats while enjoying coffee, tea or soft drinks, has proved popular enough to warrant an extension for six to eight weeks and will be examining its long-term prospects during that time.

Co-founder Mary Rubin says she”s happy to see so many successful adoptions come out of the Dancing Cat as well as the engagement with the community around its location at the corner of North 15th and Julian streets.”Neighbors are meeting each other here for the first time, and we”ve had a good number of repeat visitors who are simply seeking community — looking to spend time with other people who share a passion for cats,” she said.

Ann Chasson, the other co-founder, said several donations, including from San Jose City Councilmen Raul Peralez, Pierluigi Oliverio and Ash Kalra, encouraged the Dancing Cat to continue and work on a strategic plan for its future. To chill with the little kitties, you can make a reservation at www.thedancingcat.org. It”s open Wednesday through Sunday, with a donation of $10 per adult and $5 per child under 10 requested for an hourlong visit.

AWARD AWAITS: CommUniverCity San Jose is one of four regional winners of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Engagement Scholarship Award. That”s great news as the three-way partnership between the city, San Jose State University and the surrounding community celebrates its 10th anniversary.

The national award, which includes $20,000 and a sculpture, will be presented at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities annual meeting in November in Indianapolis. As a regional winner, San Jose State”s program is guaranteed a $5,000 prize, and that”s nothing to sniff at — even without the sculpture.

Contact Sal Pizarro at spizarro@mercurynews.com.

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