Community Programs


Community Arts, Dia de los Muertos 

The centerpiece of SJMAG’s Community Arts program is our annual Dia de los Muertos celebration in downtown San Jose. The Dia de los Muertos Procession (Comparsa), is the largest free Comparsa in San Jose. It also includes a month-long Altar Exhibit on the San Jose State University Campus, MLK Library. Dia de los Muertos events take place over several weeks in October and November and include Altar Exhibitions featuring altars created by families and local artists and Children’s Camp where teaching artists teach children about the Dias de los Muertos tradition and how to create items to decorate altars such as papel picado and to participate in the comparsa, such as skeleton masks.

Dia de los Muertos is funded by foundations, the San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs, California Arts Council, corporations and local businesses, with support from partners such as the Calvary Cemetery, the Children’s Discovery Museum, San Jose Museum of Art, Consulate General of Mexico, Teatro Vision, Oak Hill Cemetery, and the San Jose Police Department. 

Community Arts, Performances and Workshops

Our Community Arts Program also includes free and low-cost performances and workshops at community centers, and at organizations serving women such as battered women’s agencies, rape crisis centers, and women’s health centers. We conduct our Community Arts program in collaboration with professional and community service organizations such as the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Links of San Jose, the National Organization for Women, the African American Community Service Agency, the Islamic Academy, Santa Clara County Social Services, and Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana (MACLA). 

Girlfriend Appreciation Day

An annual celebration of women, who attend with their mothers, daughters, sisters, other relatives, and girlfriends. We serve lunch and there is entertainment – music and dance performers and vocalists, all performed by women of color. A motivational speaker is hired.

Tabia African American Theater

Tabia African American Theater Ensemble is in its thirty-sixth season of performances in the San Francisco Bay Area. The name Tabia, is a Swahili word for “talented.” Under the direction of Producing Artistic Director Viera Whye, the ensemble has earned a reputation for presenting high quality productions that celebrate and explore the African American experience ranging from touching dramas to clever comedies. 

Tabia’s vision is to promote cultural enrichment and explore and celebrate African American experiences and history and contribute to the artistic awareness and diversity of the region’s Black communities. During Black History month each year, Tabia presents a full production of work written and performed mostly by Black playwrights, such as The World is My Home: The Life of Paul Robeson by Stogie Kenyatta and The Eve of Jackie by Chester Gregory. Tabia also presents companies such as the Lula Washington Dance Theatre and Urban Bush Women, reflecting African American history and culture through music, dance, drumming and spoken word. They also present full length plays such as Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder’s Gee’s Bend, based on the true stories of the Quilters of Gee’s Bend, a small Black community in rural Alabama, and in celebration of August Wilson’s life and work, have featured his productions of Fences, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and Joe Turner’s Come and Gone over the years. They have also staged plays by African American playwrights such as Samm-Art Williams, Ntozake Shange, George C. Wolfe, and Chery L. West.