Public Art Commission Biographies



GORDON, Loren

Loren Gordon and her husband moved to Palo Alto in 2010 to raise their two children.   Her mother and sister are artists. She originally moved to San Francisco to work at Montgomery Securities.  While living in San Francisco she volunteered at the SFMoMA.

Her local experience includes co-chairing the Gamble Garden Spring Tour in 2011 and 2012.  In 2014 Loren co-hosted an art show in her home, benefiting the Mid-Peninsula Community Media Center, and Mural Music and Arts Project.  She currently serves on the Membership Executive Council at the Cantor Arts Center.  Loren holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Colorado and a Master’s degree of Business Administration from University of San Francisco.




OLMSTED SILVERSTEIN, Dara
Dara Olmsted Silverstein moved to Palo Alto in 2011 after about 15 years in Somerville and Cambridge, Massachusetts.  She is an admirer of public art and even dabbled in it in the past; she has painted some electric utility boxes and created sock monkey installations at Harvard and the European Cobblery. 

Dara works at Stanford University as the Sustainable Food Program Manager.  She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard College and her Master of Arts degree from Tufts University in Environmental Policy and Urban Planning.



MIGDAL, Jim
Jim Migdal lives in Palo Alto with his family and has spent most of his career in technology, helping consumer internet companies to grow through partnerships and product innovation.  He has worked with several different Valley companies, including WebTV, Ingenio, eBay and Facebook. 

Jim began his career as a management consultant, with Bain & Company and Arthur D Little.  His interest in art stems from growing up in Chicago, Illinois with a sculptor as a parent.  His favorite pieces of art in Palo Alto are done by painter Greg Brown and sculptors Patrick Dougherty and Marta Thoma.



MIYAJI, Ben
Ben Miyaji is serving his first term on the Palo Alto Public Art Commission and is currently the Vice Chair.  He is excited about the future of public art in Palo Alto, with the passing of the “Percent for Art in Private Development” ordinance and the Public Art Master Plan.  He invites all Palo Alto residents to attend commission meetings and to participate in the Public Art Master Plan process. 

Since his appointment in 1992 to the San Jose Arts Commission, Ben has served seven terms on that commission; he was Chair from 2002 to 2005 and currently sits on the Public Art Committee (former Chair).  He was Chair of the Mineta San Jose International Airport Public Art Master Plan Steering Committee in 2004 and Ben was Metro Newspaper’s 2004 Public Art Person of the Year.



TAYLOR, Nia

Hello!  I am Nia Taylor.  I was born and raised in Palo Alto, although I spent six lovely years after high school on the East Coast.  I am an artist, educator and community activist who spends her days teaching children in both formal and informal settings throughout the Peninsula. 

I joined the Art Commission so that I could help make Palo Alto a beautiful and attractive city to work, live and visit, thanks to its diverse collection of public art.  When I am not attending Public Art Commission meetings or working, I like to spend my time traveling, reading a good book, baking and being active.



ROSS, Amanda Amanda Ross is committed to working on transforming lives and communities through the arts.  She is currently serving her second term on the Public Art Commission and is on the Advisory Committee focused on creating the City’s first Master Plan for Public Art.

Amanda has a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from James Madison University.  She has worked as a Designer and Product Developer in the fashion industry.  Most recently she was Head of Accessories for Alfred Dunhill, a division of Richemont, based in London.

Amanda enjoys all topics devoted to exploring and advancing the roles of creativity, innovative thinking and self-expression in young people's lives.  She has lived in Palo Alto with her husband and three young children since 2009.



ZELKHA, Mila

Mila Zelkha was raised in Palo Alto, graduating from Gunn High School before earning both her Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Architecture. from Rhode Island School of Design. Having returned to her hometown to raise a family of her own, Mila hopes to share the experience of living with art to all who come to Palo Alto.

Mila is a social entrepreneur whose ventures have combined architectural design, strategic partnerships and socially responsible investing to help communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. She currently works for Palantir Technologies overseeing their local philanthropic and community partnerships.


Last Updated: Jan 20, 2016