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Cultivating Community

Artist: Valerie Raps (2011)

Cultivating Community was created in partnership with Don Imwalle and Imwalle Stegner Development, the property developer and the San Jose Redevelopment Agency. The artwork is part of a larger, comprehensive project, the Alum Rock Cultural History Corridor (ARCHC), which seeks to celebrate the rich cultural history of east San Jose through artworks and other elements.

Raps’ sculpture is in the form of a life size 'spring-tooth harrow', an iconic piece of farm equipment used to cultivate the land by aerating the soil with curved ‘tines’ that turn the soil as the harrow is pulled along. The sculpture depicts ten human arms cast in bronze replace the harrow’s curved 'tines', miming the harrow’s purpose but with human hands turning the soil. The sculpture thus symbolically depicts the many human hands that worked the fields and speaks to the agricultural work and hard physical labor that has been such an important part of the community. It further suggests the idea of cultural diversity and the power of people working together to build community. The arms in the artwork are castings of real community members, underscoring the artwork’s connection to the area and to this community (see fact sheet for detail). Each person has a real connection to the idea represented in the work.

District: 7

Report a Concern: (408) 793-04330 or



  • (Public Art) Historic Commemorations & Memorials
  • (Public Art) Permanent Artworks

Public Art - Cultivating Community - 2

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