About Us

POPULUS Presents is a public space programming collective. We came together in response to a city initiated request for proposals to enliven San Jose's downtown core community activity. Our efforts and your support have brought to life such free events as: Circle of Palms Café, Gypsy Cinema, Cinema San Pedro, Lunch Vox, Music After Dark, Phantom Galleries, Positive Skate Experience, Saturday Art Market, SoFA Bazaar and Winter Wonderland. We look forward to seeing you downtown. Stop by and say hello.


A San Jose Redevelopment Agency project

On January 8, 2002, the Redevelopment Agency Board approved issuance of the Public Space Programming "Request for Proposals." The goal of the RFP was to attract qualified and interested programmers with a clear program that could address the following:

Enlivening public space with the addition of events, regulated street performers, furniture and infrastructure; and, Coordinating the public space program with the Agency and the City's Office of Cultural Affairs

The benefits of creating a public space program were first suggested by the Urban Land Institute Advisory Services Panel in its June 2000 report as a way to help foster an identity for downtown San Jose and create linkages between retailers. The Agency developed the "Re-Connect with San Jose" campaign with the goal of drawing the community back into the heart of the Downtown.

This effort was the beginning of a public space program. The concept is that events and activities encourage people to come downtown more frequently, increase the time they spend visiting multiple destinations and give texture and substance to the open areas that are an extension of the activities.

The interview panel, responding to the RFP recommended that the Agency hire the current POPULUS Presents collective that is under the direction of the San Jose Downtown Association. That team includes Filco.Events, Giant Creative Services, Labadie Productions, Prime Time entertainment and Two Fish Design.

The specific events of the proposed program were selected for their uniqueness, ability to significantly enliven public spaces day-to-day, and capacity for facilitating growth of the public space "scene." The events are coordinated with merchants, residents, existing arts groups/institutions and City offices. The program events are intentionally spread throughout the days of the week, seasons, and public spaces in order to provide a more comprehensive impact.

In addition to the nine programs, an additional critical element is the Public Space Catalyst. This is the name for the outreach office of the public space program. It is designed to facilitate the use of public space by serving as a one-stop shop for bringing public programs to the Downtown Core. The Catalyst Office is located at 500 South First Street and will be staffed by members of the programming team. They will provide services to any member of the public interested in staging their own events. The Catalyst will rent out equipment for a discounted fee and offer guidance through the public space permitting process.

The Public Space Program has been carefully designed, with the help of some of the best programmers that the South Bay has to offer, as a vehicle through which the Redevelopment Agency can engage the community to make higher use of the public spaces. Finally, the Agency's goal is that the programs become self-supporting and ultimately revitalize the public spaces of Downtown San Jose.