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Zak Mendez

2016 Champions   |   San Jose

Zacharias (Zak) Mendez has worked for the City of San Jose’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services (PRNS) since 2007. In 2013, he completed his undergraduate degree with honors from San Jose State University’s College of Social Sciences. Since leaving school he has joined PRNS full time as a member of the Department’s new Community Space Activation team. A new initiative that provides community programs and activities based on the theory of Placemaking. His primary focus within the team is the planning, development and implementation of the Department’s first ever Open Streets program, Viva CalleSJ.

A San Jose native and public servant, Zak is passionate about the development of creativity, culture, and community identity throughout the city. Through his work, he seeks to increase access to mentorship, technology, and skill development that will help to foster artistic talent among youth residents, as well as, present opportunities for creative expression in public spaces for all. It is through these efforts that he hopes help to transform his city into a dynamic place with a diverse, vibrant, creative, and expressive community.

Youth Digital Arts Placemaking

My project will seek to engage San Jose youth in Placemaking activities through digital artistic media programs. The project will allow San Jose’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services (PRNS) existing Youth Digital Arts Program to provide additional access to tools, technology and mentorship for youth participants to develop their artistic skills. Aligned with PRNS Placemaking programs, this project will give the youth access to public spaces to display their Placemaking projects. Blending creativity and innovation, my proposal will encourage San Jose’s vibrant young community to express themselves through the reclamation of public space.