Current Exhibitions

Left: James Craft, Cesar Chavez & Green Oaks Academy, Grade 1, Untitled, 2016, mixed media
Right: Emily Wang, Duveneck Elementary School, Grade 5, Adoptable, 2015, oil pastel

Cultural Kaleidoscope

April 30-May 29, 2016

Youth Art*

April 30-May 22, 2016

Hundreds of student artists throughout Palo Alto and Menlo Park will meet at the intersection
of creativity and innovation during this year’s annual Cultural Kaleidoscope and Youth Art exhibition at the Palo Alto Art Center, April 30-May 31, to share their youthful artistic expressions.

New to the event this year is the collaborative Data Art Project, created by the students at Synapse School in Menlo Park and Connect Charter School in Redwood City. During this venture, 300 students explored the connection between science, technology, math, design, music, and fine arts to create a large-scale, colorful, and modular installation in the sculpture garden of the Art Center.

Noa Mendelevitch, Director of Innovation at Synapse School, says, “Palo Alto Art Center has been instrumental in bringing our two communities together and helping bridge the gap between public and private school arts education.”

Cultural Kaleidoscope is a unique artist-in-the-schools program that links the neighboring and diverse communities of Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, and East Menlo Park, by building bridges through the arts. By partnering two K-5 classrooms from PAUSD and Ravenswood City School District to foster connections between students of diverse backgrounds, Cultural Kaleidoscope transcends traditional classroom instruction, providing engaging cross-cultural arts education. The culminating exhibition of the program, also named Cultural Kaleidoscope, showcases artwork produced in the residencies, featuring a wide range of media inspired by world

Youth Art presents artwork produced by students from kindergarten through high school within the Palo Alto Unified School District. The theme for this year’s exhibition is “The Art of Ideas.”
“Community partnerships and events that showcase the dedication and talent in our midst are key to helping every child thrive. To support and develop the leaders for the next generation, creativity and innovation are of the utmost importance, and arts education is a critical piece,” says Melissa Baten Caswell, Board Member of both the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation Board and the Palo Alto Unified School District Board of Education. “I applaud the Palo Alto Art Center for their ongoing support of the art educators in the Palo Alto Unified School District and
thank both organizations for working together to support our students and publicly demonstrate their ingenuity and imagination.”

*Some artworks in the Youth Art exhibition are on view at the PAUSD District Office, 25 Churchill Avenue, during business hours 8:00 a.m.-4:45 p.m. and during the May 4 reception.

Public Reception for Cultural Kaleidoscope and Youth Art

Wednesday, May 4, 2016, 4:30-7:00 p.m.
Remarks at 6 p.m.

Creative Ecology: David Tomb

King Tides and Elusive Rails
April 26-July 3, 2016

Great Blue Heron (detail), 30 in. x 44 in., 2010, graphite, watercolor, gouache on paper, courtesy of the artist

My work is inspired by birding trips near and far. Spending time in the field in habitat and finding and studying birds coupled with research is the foundation for my work.” –David Tomb

In his residency at the Palo Alto Art Center, self-proclaimed “bird nerd” and artist David Tomb shares his passion for birds in hopes of promoting conservation through art and science. In residencies at the Palo Alto Baylands, Tomb will engage community members of all ages in exploring and drawing birds and their habitats, particularly in response to King Tides.
Tomb’s commitment to birds began in childhood, and now involves significant field research and travel, as well as studying and drawing bird skins in museum collections. His resulting installations feature painstakingly rendered bird illustrations with collage and mixed-media, found objects and even sound.

San Francisco-based artist David Tomb received his B.F.A. from CSU Long Beach. His work has been featured in solo exhibitions at the Fresno Art Museum, Electric Works, the Triton Museum of Art, San Francisco Public Library and the University Museum at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and group exhibitions at the Center for Contemporary Arts Santa Fe, the Arkansas Art Center, and the Naples Museum of Art. Tomb’s work is included in the collections of the Oakland Museum of California, the Huntington Library, and the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Creative Ecology is an innovative art and science residency program that promotes learning about and appreciation of the natural world through the creative process, engaging artists, art and science educators, and the larger community. A collaboration between the Palo Alto Art Center and the Junior Museum & Zoo, the program intends to showcase the similarities between artists and scientists and demonstrate how both use similar tools to experiment and learn about the world around them. This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.


Thursday, June 9, 7 p.m.

Artist David Tomb will give a free one-hour visual presentation at the Art Center about his Creative Ecology Residency and his experience working with the community at the Palo Alto Baylands. Attendees are also invited to view the exhibition of his work, King Tides and Elusive Rails, in the Glass Gallery following the talk.

Double Take by Patrick Dougherty:
A site-specific installation

January 2011 -

Patrick Dougherty and detail of Ruaille Buaille (Hijinx)
2008, Parklands in County Offaly, Ireland.
Photo: James Fraher

The Palo Alto Art Center is honored to present a monumental, site-specific installation by Patrick Dougherty, one of the nation’s most prominent environmental sculptors. The public may view the artist’s creative process during his three week artist residency, January 11- 28, 2011, on the grounds of the Palo Alto Art Center.

Identified as the Jackson Pollock of saplings by art critic John Perreault, Patrick Dougherty is a process-oriented artist whose lyrical, organic works are created specifically for each site. Made from local and renewable willow saplings, his works embody natural life cycles, changing over time as the sticks settle and decay, eventually returning to the earth from which they grew. Dougherty has created over 200 monumental site-specific installations on the grounds of major museums, universities, botanical gardens, and private residences worldwide. The resulting works evoke a wide array of natural forms, ranging from nests to objects with a transparent architecture, like woodland dwellings, or basketry.

Environmental sensitivity is a major concern for the artist. Saplings are gathered from maintained sources so that the branches grow back to make new sticks for future uses. Dougherty does not use any artificial supports in his constructions because the inherent properties of saplings cause them to snag and entangle easily.

While there is a signature quality to his work, each of his compelling sculptures relates specifically to the physical site in a unique way. Dougherty believes that ideas percolate at the actual venue and that “the success of a piece lies in capturing the essence of a place and then playing with what you make of that essence.” Unlike other sculptors, he initially conceives of his work by making a series of word associations on both the physical and social qualities of a site. He is conscious of drawing in space, as he weaves sticks with lighter and darker colors and varying widths and lengths.

This project is commissioned by the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation and co-sponsored by the Palo Alto Public Art Commission. It is made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Documentary film of the Patrick Dougherty installation at the Palo Alto Art Center (You Tube)

Patrick Dougherty Lecture at the Palo Alto Art Center (You Tube)

Public Reactions to Double Take by Patrick Dougrhty (You Tube)
Last Updated: May 2, 2016