San José Museum of Art Receives Grant from Knight Foundation to Expand Digital Strategies

Release date 
Tuesday, December 22, 2020

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced that the San José Museum of Art (SJMA) has been awarded a grant to expand its art and technology exhibition series and support the commissioning of digital works. SJMA is part of a diverse group of four San José arts organizations that received grants from Knight Foundation because they are using innovative measures to foster connection among community, despite the pandemic.

“Like Knight Foundation, SJMA is committed to using art to build strong communities and connect people. The need for connection has never been stronger than now, when communities across the country have been rattled by the effects of COVID-19,” shared S. Sayre Batton, Oshman Executive Director. “We are honored to receive this significant support from Knight Foundation to expand our digital strategies. With this grant, SJMA can broaden its digital experiences and programs to connect with and inspire audiences, even when they cannot be with us physically at the Museum.”

The grant from Knight Foundation will help SJMA expand its art and technology exhibition series and support the commissioning of digital works. With this grant, SJMA will relaunch its art and technology exhibition series in 2021 with a year-long inaugural presentation of Hito Steyerl’s Factory of the Sun (2015). The installation will be on view from August 2021–August 2022. The grant will also help develop a new program for digital commissions. To launch this program, SJMA will commission Trevor Paglen and Sofía Córdova to create new digital works in 2021.

In a statement Knight's director of arts and tech innovation, Chris Barr, said, "Technology has been at the forefront of new strategies by artists and art organizations to create new, innovative works in a time of physical distancing, health protocols and shutdowns. With Knight's new support, San José arts organizations and local artists will push the boundaries of audience engagement and creativity in a time when it is needed the most."

In addition to supporting digital strategies, these grants will also help artists and arts organizations address operational costs and allow them to use their resources to continue producing new works.

In a statement Knight's director of the arts program, Priya Sircar, stated, "Artists in San José have long been affected by the City's high cost of living. Add to that the side effects of business closures, and it's visible that they have been faced with a nearly unbearable situation. Knight's $750,000 investment will allow these innovators to activate physical and virtual space to engage diverse audiences and build digital capacity to advance their missions."

The other organizations and projects in San José receiving funding include:

  • MACLA/Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana
  • School of Arts and Culture 
  • San Jose Jazz 



Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit


SJMA is located at 110 South Market Street in downtown San José, California near the Plaza de César Chavez. The Museum is temporarily closed, following the Santa Clara County orders to Shelter in Place due to COVID-19. SJMA continues to offer programming online and has expanded digital content by creating a Museum from Home page, found here: Updated weekly, the section features behind-the-scene explorations of exhibitions, art-making videos, educator lesson plans, a Curators’ Dashboard, and more. For up-to-date information about when SJMA will reopen, please visit Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, and free to members, college students, youth and children ages 17 and under, and schoolteachers (with valid ID). For more information, call 408.271.6840 or visit