Palo Alto Art Center celebrates 50 years as city’s cultural hub | News


When the constructing that homes the Palo Alto Art Heart was made in 1953, it was regarded as, according to a self-guided tour pamphlet, “ultra contemporary” and modern because of to its “Ranchero Design.” But with the passage of time arrives transforming tastes, trends and desires. Normally properties like this, which served as Palo Alto’s City Corridor for in excess of 10 yrs, are demolished in order to create new, up to date services. This was not the destiny of 1313 Newell Highway, a venerable construction that has been, above the many years, remodeled, repurposed and re-imagined as a neighborhood arts centre that will rejoice its 50th anniversary on May perhaps 15.

Long thought of the hub of Palo Alto’s cultural local community, in addition to the main library, found upcoming doorway, the Palo Alto Art Middle has develop into identified as a spot to equally see and generate artwork.

With its expansive gallery areas and completely equipped studios, the Center serves thousands of buyers every single yr. This includes grown ups, getting edge of the option to understand how to paint, attract and make ceramics less than the direction of expert artists, and college-aged young children who typically get their initially publicity to artwork by using the Job Seem System.

How has the Palo Alto Artwork Center survived the vicissitudes of time — and a planet-broad pandemic to rejoice this main milestone? The Palo Alto Weekly talked to a few people who have been carefully involved with the center and its plans for many many years: Executive Director Karen Kienzle, Palo Alto artist Judith Content material and former Palo Alto Artwork Centre Foundation board member Marcia Pugsley.

Judith Written content is a nationally known textile artist who 1st discovered the Artwork Heart as a pupil at Gun Substantial College in 1975. She commenced volunteering at the Middle in 1979, served two a long time on the Basis Board and now serves on the Emeritus Board.

Palo Alto Weekly: To what do you attribute the longevity of the Artwork Center?

Judith Written content: The Art Heart has continually been an approachable and welcoming position to see art, discover about artwork and make art. The Art Heart nurtures a neighborhood of artists, makers, lecturers and appreciators of art.

Palo Alto Weekly: How has the Centre tailored to the community’s changing requires?

Written content: All over the several years, I have witnessed a fully commited workers that regarded the desires of the local community and continually presented inventive programming to handle all those needs. For occasion, with reduced artwork curriculums in the schools, Venture Look brought university-age kids to the Artwork Middle for arts education programming with a arms-on ingredient.

Palo Alto Weekly: What does the Center mean to you as an artist/local community member?

Material: I like to pay a visit to the Artwork Centre for its surprises. I in no way know what I will uncover. They have a tendency to use each and every wall and hallway for frequently shifting, typically interactive artwork displays. It is like a visible treasure hunt and I always come away inspired.

Palo Alto Weekly: Can you share a unique memory you have of the Artwork Centre?

Information: My favorite memory was co-producing “Pottery Creek” with the higher Palo Alto community. It is a long term, website-unique set up that flanks equally sides of the entry to the Artwork Centre. It consists of a great number of items of polished pottery. To make it, I received damaged pottery plates, mugs and bowls from hundreds of individuals. I broke these up and tumbled the shards in a rock tumbler. It was set up 10 decades in the past and proceeds to evolve. Now, I routinely rescue and repurpose deserted pottery from the kid’s clay classes.

Palo Alto Weekly: What do you hope the foreseeable future will keep for the Artwork Centre?

Content material: I feel that it is significant for the Art Centre to continue to be a destination for youthful people today. When the significance of artwork is established early it generates a foundation to create upon all over a lifetime.

Marcia Pugsley moved to Palo Alto in the mid-1990s. When browsing the Sculpture Garden, she observed individuals portray and resolved to choose a class, even even though she had no prior art practical experience. Following 1 watercolor class she was “hooked.” She later became involved with the Basis Board because, “selfishly I wanted to retain a good institution heading.”

Palo Alto Weekly: To what do you attribute the longevity of the Artwork Centre?

Marcia Pugsley: The Artwork Centre has changed with the situations classes have reflected technological innovation (iPad drawing, Iphone photography), fashion design and style and calligraphy (in reaction to our Asian American local community customers). There have been exhibitions on Black artists’ operate, immigration, incapacity and therapeutic. These exhibitions were all planned before the pandemic, which says a great deal about how tuned in the curators have been and the value of artwork reflecting group and social troubles.

Palo Alto Weekly: What do you hope the long run will hold for the Artwork Centre?

Pugsley: I am hoping the Art Heart continues to deliver exhibitions that challenge our thinking, jolt our standpoint and stir our coronary heart — additionally that admission stays totally free. The Artwork Center has had great management during its 50 several years and I am hoping we can appeal to and maintain the superior caliber personnel that retains the offerings clean and stirring.

Karen Kienzle has a extended background with the Art Centre, commencing when she was a second- grade college student at Keys School and participated in Project Search. During university she was a volunteer and afterwards joined the team as a part-time publicist. “Coming back to the Middle in a management position was seriously coming complete circle for me, in lots of approaches,” she mentioned.

Palo Alto Weekly: How did the Art Middle stay alive — and appropriate — in the course of COVID?

Karen Kienzle: The remarkable, resourceful, diligent and total astounding Art Center staff members responded to the COVID pandemic creatively. We hosted virtual and hybrid plans and in-individual applications when protected. Our university tour plan and artist-in-the-educational facilities system transitioned to virtual, then in the classroom till this spring when we could offer you artwork ordeals onsite.

The pandemic highlighted that the group requirements art, now additional than ever. We provide so considerably much more than an art class, or an artwork location. We provide a group, a area for anxiety reduction, for assistance and belonging. Now into recovery, our class programs are at ability and our attendance is rebounding.

Palo Alto Weekly: Can you share some upcoming designs/ambitions for the Center?

Kienzle: We are wanting forward to our summer time exhibition, our initial juried demonstrate in much more than a ten years. It proceeds the topic of restoration and renewal initiated with our “Inventive Consideration” challenge. Subsequent yr, we start a series of weather-si
milar exhibitions as element of our “Local climate Connections” (exhibition series), including exhibitions concentrated on fireplace, drinking water and earth. We continue on to get the job done to make our programs much more accessible by means of captioning and visual descriptions and, thanks to the Palo Alto Art Middle Basis, scholarships to our classes.

The local community is invited to the absolutely free anniversary celebration, which will involve palms-on artwork actions, studio demonstrations, sweet treats and admission to the current exhibition, “Resourceful Attention: Artwork and Community Restoration.” The function normally takes put on Sunday, May well 15 from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Palo Alto Artwork Centre, 1313 Newell Highway, Palo Alto. For much more facts, stop by


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