Save Empire Seven Studios

$30,025 of $1.5M goal

Raised by 272 people in 30 months
Unfortunately, like many small businesses in the bay area, our art gallery will be replaced with Luxury Apartments...

10 years ago I started looking for a building…

Where I could start my first art gallery in my hometown of San Jose, California

After years of getting in trouble for painting the streets…

I thought it was finally time to do things legit…

And start giving back to the community of artists I have gotten to know throughout the years

We found an old meat factory warehouse on the edge of Japan Town

The address was 7th Street and Empire…

We started renting it

It took about a year and half to fix up the place…

But here is where Empire Seven Studios was born…

My dream of finally owning and running an art gallery was realized

The landlord gave us a verbal agreement that we could stay there for 10 years…

In those 10 years we’ve had at least one show every month…

Featuring local…

And up and coming artists from all over the world.

We gave many artists their first art show ever

And we are proud to have been able to support our local creative community as much as we have…

We’ve had over 100 unique art shows since we opened Empire Seven Studios...

(Story continued below show photos)

Anniversary Show (group show)

Natural Selection (group show)

A Dream Deferred - Ben Alexy

Jim Phillips 30th Anniversary Screaming Hand Show

Ex Post Facto - Francisco Graciano

Beware Yokai Show (group show)

Hippocampus Wallpaper - Colin Frangicetto and Drew Roulette

Horitomo (State of Grace) and Christopher Brand (UGLARworks)

Roan Victor, Sean Boyles, Carlos Araujo

Beware Yokai (group show)

HandMade (group show)

We Are Robots - Paco Excel

Angela Fox, Ariel Wilson, Bunnie Reiss, and Lacey Bryant

Angela Fox

Impermanent Collection -Neto Soza

We Are Robots - Paco Excel

When Times Converge - Greg Ito and Sarah Edwards

Archetype$ - Spencer Keeton Cunningham, Erlin Geffrard, Jacque Fragua

Jaque Fragua, Spencer Keeton Cunningham, Erlin Geffrard installation video

Roan Victor of The Arsenal

Remember to Remember - Beau Roulette

Joe and Laura Miller

Quest for Pureland - Bigfoot one and Chip 7

(Story continued...)

,,,And we are grateful for all that have come out to enjoy the art.

Giving artists a place to show their latest work has been an incredible experience…

And has led to some amazing projects…

Like The San Jose Mural Project that we started
(AKA. E7S Mural Project in San Jose, Ca.) 

The San Jose Mural Project gets local and international artists…

To paint huge murals on local businesses…

To help bring new life and attention…

To the vibrant creative community here in San Jose

The murals have helped businesses grow

And a mural tour has made San Jose a destination for art lovers to come visit...

(Story continued below mural photos)


Jaque Fragua and Spencer Keeton Cunningham

Sam Rodriguez

Sam Rodriguez and Poesia

John Barrick


Abel Gonzales

Andrew Schoultz

(Story continued...)Our art shows and mural projects are our babies…

However sadly…

we have recently been asked to leave our current location…

because the landlord is selling the property to real estate developers…

These developers plan on turning our art gallery into Luxury Apartments

We tried to fight it but there’s nothing we can do to stay at the building we spent 10 years creating

The day after I heard the news I was feeling pretty sad…

And I can’t lie

I was ready to give up

Then a friend came by to discuss what would happen next for Empire Seven Studios…

He asked me to imagine…

If I had all the money in the world, where would I want to build a new EmpireSeven Studios Art Gallery?

Right away I thought of a space in the heart of Japan Town

Then he said, okay let’s do a Gofundme and make it happen

We started writing down everything we needed and began working on a campaign…

While waiting to get a video made to go along with the fundraiser…

We found out that an old historic building in our ideal location was available to buy

The building use to be called The Dragon club

It's a block and half away from our current location

And it's closer to the heart of Japan town

This means it will be easier for people to visit our art gallery

Our plan is to build a four story art studio space

(Here is a building we are inspired by)

The main floor will be the art gallery

The bottom floor will be a studio for artists to practice and record music

And the top floor will be artist residences

The artist residences will give visiting artists a place to stay while working on their latest projects

If we can afford it...

We would also like to add a dark room for photography

And a ceramic studio where artists can work with clay

Creating our ideal new 4 story building could easily cost over $3,000,000

However we hope to cut costs by using contractors and designers we have met throughout the years...

We think we can create the building for $1,500,000

Now is our chance to own our own building so we never have to worry about getting kicked out again

Please donate whatever you can to help us reach our goal bythe time our campaign ends this year.

This way we can keep giving the public free art shows...

In a more central location...

And encourage artists to stay and create in San Jose…

We would like to start building sooner so we can to limit the delay of upcoming art shows as much as possible

Please donate whatever you can
$10 and $50,000 donations are equally appreciated

And if you can't donate please share this campaign

Thank you for showing your support of Empire Seven Studios throughout the years...

And we look forward to sharing many more art shows in the future

Thank you,
Juan Carlos Araujo and Jennifer Ahn
of Empire Seven Studios

What local artists are saying about Empire Seven Studios:

Some friends interviewed a few local artists to find out what Empire Seven Studios means to them...

Answers to common questions you may have:

1. What are the total costs of your new space and building a new gallery?

Here are the estimated costs...

The building and land parcel - $650,000 

Designer -  $50,000

Architectural Plans for Permit -  $60,000

Structural Plans For Permit - $40,000

Civil Engineering Plans - $25,000

Materials - $600,000

Contractors - $200,000

Cad Artist - $15,000

Permit costs - $100,000

Dependent Upon Area Factors

2. How can I donate more than $50,000 at a time?

Gofundme allows $50,000 max for a single donation however if you would like to donate more there are two things you can do:

1. You can donate $50,000 multiple times


2. You can contact

UPDATE: Our story was featured on KTVU FOX 2!!!

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Our original moving date was delayed and we are still actively pushing our Go Fund Me campaign as we will have to move this fall. Significant funds are still needed to maintain the E7S mission and secure a permanent artists’ space. Please help spread the word

Until we have to absolutely leave, we decided to activate our current space.

TONIGHT @ Empire Seven Studios:
"Here & There" mural unveiling and art exhibit for local San Jose artist, Sam Rodriguez.

Likening the murals to journalism, Artist Sam Rodriquez says, “When I think of murals, I think of outdoor books. This recent wall marks the first of many that I plan to do, which would depict the cultural landscape of San Jose through observations and interviews of its residents. This will result in pieces that could only be found in San Jose.”

Rodriquez was assisted in the execution of the wall by community volunteers, which freed up Rodriquez to focus on the portraits and more technical aspects of the mural. “A lot of the people who helped out cared as much, if not more, about the painting than I did,” the artist says. “They held up the standards as I would for my own paintings.” Some of the youth involved in an intervention program (Teaching Adolescents Skills in the Community), who worked on the mural, came back after the mural was finished and proudly showed family members their work.

Friday, August 11 from 7:00-10:00pm, come celebrate the City of San Jose with the unveiling of its latest mural! Additionally, we will be featuring a solo exhibit of Sam's work within our gallery space!

7:00 – 7:30pm: Mural viewing and artist talk at the wall located on Kiem Laundromat (8th & Empire Street, one block from E7S)

7:30-10:00pm Celebration and Art Exhibit at Empire Seven Studios, 525 N 7th Street, San Jose, CA

Blvd Bombs - Lowriders
Music by Akro1 & Ambitious Outsider
El Taco Loco food truck
"Here & There" by Sam Rodriguez
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Earlier in 2016

I met with artist Sam Rodriguez earlier this year to discuss his career, and future partnership.

Empire Seven Studios is proud to announce representation of artwork sales through the gallery.

Sam's major influences that effect his day to day starting with a slow press cup of coffee. His daily routine consists of being a loving father and married to artist Bu.

Everyday once the family is situated he heads to the studio to paint for a full days of work. Sam like many artists are in need of bigger more professional facilities, but that would just be icing on the cake. Reality is he has no time to focus on creating a professional studio, and focuses on creating masterpieces and they are remarkable works of art.

Sam and I discussed his process, mediums, techniques and concepts. How he no longer wishes to work with aerosol. "Using it over the years has me concerned about my health." His most recent work Type Faces is focused on what is happening now in current events that he believes in and wishes to voice through his art. Somehow arts has lost the voice of speaking out publicly for a bigger cause. Artists don't necessarily want to start talking politics or even be involved in the debate of them. Can you blame them? Election 2016!

How artists have a power to engage with the people who don't necessarily go to museums, voting poles, is by creating awareness through public art. The public is to busy going and coming from work or their day to day.

When you look at Sam Rodriguez's art it feels like you are connecting with a loved one. Someone who means something to your life and has a eternal connection to the spirit world within you.

A soul finding its home amongst the people, never wanting to be forgotten. It tells us to preserve and appreciate your loved ones. Its beautiful to remember, its important to speak up.

Through his work he uses letter type to highlight a language and a whole culture through his transformation of letters and portraiture.

Since our meeting he has traveled to paint in Japan for the Pow Wow Worldwide mural festival. He also collaborated with artist Aaron De La Cruz in San Francisco' mission district, and The Mexican Heritage Plaza, School of Arts & Culture located in East Side San Jose.

Please consider Sam Rodriguez art for your office or company team space!

His artwork is available through our gofundme campaign. (Scroll to the bottom of the main description section to see examples of his work currently available in our rewards section. You can also make a tax deductible donation by messaging us and get a painting as a thank you gift by donating at the corresponding reward level).

We appreciate his contribution in helping us advocate for arts culture in San Jose.

Juan Carlos Araujo
+ Read More
Hello everyone, and thank you for helping us continue to pursue a dream. We would like to share a Podcast interview we recently did with a super rad host Jorge Martin Sanchez.

We speak about the tragic events of Ghosts Ship' in Oakland California. Our sincerest condolences to those who have lost someone they love. We never did visit ghost ship, however from what we have heard. It seems to have had a beautiful community that helped support and love one another.
May those we lost Rest in Art Paradise.

The struggles that independent artists face consistently are establishing networks that fund them just to sustain. Shelter, studio space, amenities that are important to established artists seeking a permanent place to create.

The reality is that government foundations can only do so much. Businesses that run independently have the underdog survival strategies that leave us with the only alternative to make best of what we can. Old buildings were something indie businesses could rely on due to the outrageous rents for prime time real estate.

We are scared of what people will have to go through moving forward to establish small businesses. Permits, fines, permits, and more fines will be knocking on everyone's door soon enough and while city ordinances peak arts artisans businesses will fall. This is all on top of dealing with the protected landlords who can increase your rent, double it as the real estate market climbs to non accessible rates for business like The Arsenal, Seeing Things Gallery, Curate Good, Black and Brown, Five Color Cowboy, and all of Cannery Park that is currently in development. Luckily most of these businesses have found a way to survive independently. We appreciate their courage, we personally would like to thank them all for their service to San Jose.

What is happening with Empire Seven Studios?

Thanks to you we have raised twenty five thousand dollars. We feel like we already won just with your support. However we do not plan on giving up just yet. The year is over and the developers are closing escrow soon. We have learned that it won't be till February that we have to move out. In the meantime our goal is to continue campaigning throughout 2017. However no more art shows until we can catch-up.

Many friends like Anjee from Macla have opened up their doors to us and we couldn't be more thankful for their support. Various opportunities have arrived but we also need to take a moment to step back, regroup and come back fully powered. It has been in our nature to bring the element of surprise, so we are excited for what the future holds. That's endless possibilities. My mom always said we can find good out of bad situations.

Our goal is to create a permanent space. One where we don't have to worry about rent increases, and modeled for artists to sustain. Our work has been rooted from a humbled model that can have the power to engage with the generations to come. We want to create a place artists can call a permanent home.

We would like to announce to everyone that if we can accomplish our goal and rebuild. The facility would be Donated to the arts and artists of San Jose once we die. Jennifer and I do not plan on having children, by choice. Our careers have fulfilled our lives with love and passion through the arts. We will dedicate ourselves to build this place so that the future entrepreneurs of this city can have a home base to build from.

We are for profit business and we would like to keep it that way. That is what you are helping change. What we do is advocate for hundreds of artists and majority have been local. We contribute to artists financial support through gallery sales, commissions, and or merchandising ideas. Organically we have evolved working together with artists, and we take their careers extremely serious, and make it fun at the same time. Our relationships are built on trust and a hard working ethic.

We couldn't thank you enough for the support, our friends from Silicon Valley Creates have been great supporters of E7S. They have agreed to be our fiscal sponsor to help us raise money for anyone wanting to make a tax deductible donation of $1,000 or more through a NON PROFIT. (Please send us a private message to to arrange a tax deductible donation).

Help us be bigger and better than ever. We are open to ideas for massive space to own, please help make a powerful change in a movement they call Arts.

I hope you enjoy the podcast. Jorge is very charismatic and we will be sending artists his way, so please tune in.

Here is the link to the podcast where Jen and I are interviewed to learn about the current state of events for us and Empire Seven Studios:

Thanks for listening, and stay tuned for more stories as we continue to fight for a new home. Much love!

T-shirts and Sweaters Coming Soon.
With love,
Carlos & Jen.
She's sleeping, I'm writing.

Have a great day. Happy Holidays!
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Thank you so much for coming to our last show!

Your support has given our lives meaning throughout the years.

Thanks to James Vidal for this photo

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Read a Previous Update
Bernadette Guzman
30 months ago

I was born and raised on Nth 12th and jackson. In the heart of Northside San Jose. Where my family still resides. I have a love for art. Many friends and family who know me, know that. Art is anything you put your mind to and create. Any place can become a canvas...PENCIL TO PAPER, BRUSH TO PAINT , SPRAY CAN TO WALL, LENS TO CAMERA, HANDS TO CLAY, so on and so on. One Love ❤

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Peter Delevett
29 months ago


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$30,025 of $1.5M goal

Raised by 272 people in 30 months
Created September 19, 2016
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Laura Thomas
3 months ago

Art is essential to being human.

Jessica Mariscal
4 months ago

I donated because I believe in the creativity of art and I think this is a positive thing they are doing to inspire the talents of all. we live in a great place and we should be a able share these talents. this should be on every bare side building. Empire studio has so many great people and passionate about art. That is why I chose this spot to showcase the art in sweet 16 video ,What I love about it and I am sad to see this place get teared down. but it wont stop the passion and the desire to keep going . #ART Empirestudios #

Antonina Ettare
7 months ago

Thank you for being a part of our community.

8 months ago
11 months ago
gertrude levy
15 months ago

keep up the great work and so good to talk with Carlos about Murals on Sunday at the Discovery Museum

Bernadette Guzman
30 months ago

I was born and raised on Nth 12th and jackson. In the heart of Northside San Jose. Where my family still resides. I have a love for art. Many friends and family who know me, know that. Art is anything you put your mind to and create. Any place can become a canvas...PENCIL TO PAPER, BRUSH TO PAINT , SPRAY CAN TO WALL, LENS TO CAMERA, HANDS TO CLAY, so on and so on. One Love ❤

+ Read More
Peter Delevett
29 months ago


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