St. Joseph’s Cathedral in San Jose was illuminated for the vacations

In a normal year, the basilica of St. Joseph’s Cathedral would host free art shows for two weeks. However, this was anything but a normal year, which forced the cancellation of the Season of Hope concerts – a holiday tradition in downtown San Jose for many families.

But all is not lost yet, because although the cathedral cannot house art within its walls, the facade of the building has been turned into a canvas for artistic projections. The artistic revision began last weekend and will continue every evening until the end of the year at dusk.

New layers are created from on top of the video mapping installation Terry Estioko by Estioko Design from Santa Clara, so it’s worth visiting more than once. And while you can just drive by, strollers get an extra experience thanks to a soundtrack added by DJ Carlos Diaz by Knight Sounds Entertainment.

Nor is this the only lighting brightening downtown San Jose this month. Several buildings were lit, including the Fairmont Hotel Outbuilding, the Security and Letitia Buildings on South First Street, and the old Valley Title building on the corner of First, now home to art groups like Local Color and San Jose Jazz and San Carlos.

San Jose City Hall will continue to be illuminated in different colors over the next several weeks to mark several cultural holidays that occur during the season. The tower and rotunda were painted pink and orange to represent last month’s Diwali celebrations. The colors changed to blue and white for Hanukkah, and on Sunday they changed back to green and red for Christmas. On December 26th, the colors for Kwanzaa will be red, yellow and green, and for Dia de Los Reyes on December 2nd and 8th January the colors will be white, red and green.

SPARTAN UP: It’s a shame City Hall isn’t lit up in white-blue-gold this week to celebrate the appearance of the San Jose State Spartans in Saturday’s Mountain West Conference championship game against Boise State. Of course, without the COVID-19 pandemic, this game would be played at CEFCU Stadium instead of Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas. Ironically, when the east side of the former Spartan Stadium was built, there may not have been enough capacity to accommodate all of the fans who may have shown up.

And instead of cheering on the undefeated Spartans who are in 25th place on campus, the state of San Jose is holding a virtual pep-up rally on Friday afternoon. Trainer Brent Brennan and the team is expected to broadcast live from Las Vegas, SJSU President Mary Papazian and sports director Marie Tuite will make remarks, and everyone’s favorite cheerleaders, “Krazy” George Henderson will keep the beat going with his drum Spartan alums and fans can take part at (and note that a distinction is made between upper and lower case).

GIFTS IN MARTHA’S KITCHEN: Bill LeeThe executive director of Martha’s Kitchen in San Jose has noticed double demand for meals due to the pandemic and also knows that many families are struggling to make ends meet during the vacation. So this weekend, the nonprofit, in partnership with Toys for Tots and the Order of Malta Western Association, will be switching gears to give away 5,000 packaged toys to children in the area.

The toys – for children up to 14 years old – are distributed on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Drive through delivery is 10 am to 2 pm daily at 311 Willow Street. Many Elven volunteers will join Santa Claus to help with the distribution, however, if you would like to help or for more information, contact Lee at bill @ marthas-

WISH BOOK BEHIND THE SCENES: The Bay Area News Group’s holiday fundraiser, Wish Book and Share the Spirit, are well underway, and I will be hosting an online presentation Thursday morning with my colleagues who brought these stories to readers. If you’d like to learn more about the work behind the scenes on these projects, you can sign up for the 10am webinar at, which is part of our Newsroom @ Home series.

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