he Deputy Director Holly Shen of the San Jose Museum of Art described art as a communication tool for the contemporary social issues. Art history 

presents this theory as artist are only able to create for their time in society. Today, as society has progressed through six months of handling drastic changes caused by the Covid-19 Pandemic many art museums’ officials are scrambling to find the proper virtual public programming and contemporary ways to virtually show art.


As Deputy Director, Shen takes hold of many management roles within the museum. Holly Shen oversees the Marketing and Communications, Education, and Digital Departments of the museum. Shen empowers the individuals working within the departments she oversees by providing them with a platform to discuss their thoughts on the institution’s functions. Individual’s working at SJMA are given a voice through Shen’s choice to conduct bi-weekly meetings with her departments to discuss the issues and successes so communication is evident even in these difficult times.

Shen is very personally involved in the “opening up” of the museum. As the pandemic’s restrictions begin to lighten up decisions must me coordinated to guarantee the safety of the San Jose Museum’s patrons. Shen strongly advocated for her personal opinion that virtually viewing art does not equate to physically viewing art.

Shen explains that the San Jose Museum of Art was luckily ahead of the game due to their previous commitment to produce an online catalog this year. The catalog includes artist from all over the world whom have produced works of different types of mediums. SJMA welcomes the digital present with the publication of an open catalog granting free access to  the museum’s permanent collection. 

Holly Shen provides major insight on the realm where business meets art. San Jose’s city funding has decreased by 75 percent due to the lack of revenue generated from tourism. Due to the virus and the global shutdown, many of the world cities that rely on tourism will be forced to make major cuts. These cuts, Shen worries, will greatly effect the art realm within months and years to come. Shen confided in us to explain that SJMA, along with the other tourism hotspots and museums of San Jose, have to split 1.2 million of city funding while the police are provided 450 million in funding.

This reverts back to how art is perfectly encapsulated in contemporary society. Will San Jose “defund the police” to provide to their community? This is a huge question being asked to every city official in America and leading to similar uprisings across the world. The art industry does not have as many lobbying groups as other businesses, but hopeful the chants of the American people in the streets will help provide for the arts.

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