In March 2020, prior to the event’s existence: Members of the community worked collaboratively in the downtown area at Local colors (Digital Underground). Artist, Musicians, Entrepreneurs, and more creatives from the community. We all had our own roadblocks in this pandemic. Some businesses struggled harder than others. The pandemic had led to some of the toughest times since the last recession. Members came together with their limited resources. We had motivation and determination to try to create a solution. Throughout long hours, days, and months of brainstorming we came to the conclusion of doing a marketplace to support our local businesses, as well as to pay tribute to the culture we have and greatly appreciate.
Our friends Sonny & Abdi are owners of the Nile Parking Lot in downtown San Jose. They told us they were struggling to drive revenue with a vacant parking lot during the shutdown. Most of their business came from the busy buildings, the night life, and all the activity downtown. During the pandemic, it was a ghost town. We quickly realized the businesses, the parking lot, and the artist all had a common problem. After that, it was clear that we could all win if we solve this issue.
During the first two events, we put out a survey through a QR code when community members came to be a part of the Culture Night Market in November & May. We received positive responses on the impact, and 70% wanted us to continue this event. We asked the attendees what they liked and what they wanted to see more of. Their responses were that they loved the atmosphere and our lighting because it created a nice vibe to be around. They did request that they wished we would do the event more often.
A large part of our communication comes from building individual relationships and having in-person conversations at these events. We make sure to attend other events to support other community members' projects, and have conversations around how to grow, potential ways to collaborate, ways to expand Culture Night Market, and are introduced to other potential vendors.
We've built a supportive connection with SJ's Office of Cultural Affairs. With support from this new resource, we have decided to increase the event's size, visibility, and cultural impact by becoming an official event and going through proper channels and permitting.
We have more plans to grow this project, and welcome people from all over the world to come celebrate San Jose's Culture!