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Case Studies 

Phantom Galleries

San Jose



Contributed by 
Brian Eder
Project for Public Spaces
February 28, 2003
December 14, 2017

Former empty retail fronts now filled with artists' installations.

What makes it Great?

Why it doesn't work?

Three vacant buildings lining the street on San Fernando and half a dozen more continuing around the corner on South First Street are now filled with artists' displays and installations. Phantom Galleries was created to both renew the magic in the daily journey downtown and increase the awareness of the importance of our local artists in the cultural/economic development of our city.

Access & Linkages

Phantom Galleries are along one of the busiest pedestrian corridors in San Jose. Street traffic and light rail also pass along this area.

Comfort & Image

The street itself is beautiful. Very clean, wide sidewalks with light rail passing along the historic buildings. Only one lane of one-way traffic and one transit/loading zone lane.

Uses & Activities

It's rare not to pass down either San Fernando or South First Streets while either working or playing downtown. The San Jose Museum is directly across the street on San Fernando, some of our nicest restaurants are either across the street from the Phantom Galleries or just around the corner. The University is just a few blocks away as well.


San Fernando Street's Phantom Galleries have no benches or wide sidewalks. They really are meant for passing pleasure. South First Street has potential. However, the only benches currently are for transit users. The space itself is beautiful and it would make great sense to put even more energy into it.

How Light?

How Quick?

How Cheap?

History & Background

Phantom Galleries is produced by Brian Eder and Cherri Lakey of Two Fish Design. We are part of a collective called POPULUS Presents which came together in response to a city initiated request for proposals for public space programming.

Related Links & Sources

Phantom Galleries
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Phantom Galleries
Phantom Galleries
Phantom Galleries

*Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.


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