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Art Center Pioneers Honored at Sapphire Celebration

The Palo Alto Art Center Foundation’s sold-out Sapphire Celebration event on April 12 will honor the outstanding people and programs that have helped build the creative community at the Palo Alto Art Center over the past 45 years.

The Sapphire Celebration award recipients are: Jeannie Duisenberg, Leadership Award; Signe Mayfield, Visionary Award; and Carolyn Tucher, Innovator Award.

Jeannie Duisenberg first became involved with the Palo Alto Art Center in the early 1970s as a volunteer and parent. When Proposition 13 passed in 1978, she became concerned that the Art Center would become a target for budget cuts, so she started to raise funds and create a school tour program with a hands-on art component—a program that now flourishes as Project Look, serving more than 5,000 children annually.

Signe Mayfield served as a Curator for the Art Center from 1989 to 2011, and has made an indelible mark on the institution by curating diverse exhibitions in a broad range of media that both fascinated and delighted audiences. She viewed her exhibits as “visual essay,” requiring laborious thought, research, and writing. Some of her traveling exhibitions included Big Idea: The Maquettes of Robert Arneson, Dominic Di Mare: A Retrospective, and The Miniature Worlds of Bruce Metcalf. She also forged important relationships with collectors and artists during her tenure.

Carolyn Tucher has played an invaluable role in the community through her active and passionate service. Her volunteer efforts for the Art Center include active leadership for 25 years on the board of the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation and its predecessor, the Palo Alto Cultural Center Guild, helping to govern the institution during an important period on its history. She also helped found the Art Center’s Cultural Kaleidoscope artmaking program to build bridges between Palo Alto and the Ravenswood School District in East Palo Alto.

David Kelley, founder and chairman of the global design and innovation company IDEO and founder of Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (the d. school), will serve as the featured speaker during the Sapphire Celebration. He will be in conversation with Lisa Van Dusen, Palo Alto Art Center Foundation board Member Emeritus, and Chief Relationship Officer with the Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund (SV2). 

As Stanford University’s Donald W. Whittier Professor in Mechanical Engineering, Kelley is the Academic Director of both the degree-granting undergraduate and graduate programs on design within the School of Engineering, and has been a professor in the program for more than 35 years. The topic of Kelley’s presentation will be the importance of creativity in promoting innovation. Widely known for teaching human-centered design methodology and design thinking to students and business executives, Kelley and his brother Tom co-authored the New York Times best-selling book, Creative Confidence.

“David Kelley’s career has demonstrated the power of creativity, and his book Creative Confidence showcases the fact that we are all inherently creative,” says Palo Alto Art Center Director Karen Kienzle. “What could be a better message for the Palo Alto Art Center—an organization that has celebrated the artist in everyone for 45 years.”  

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Last Updated March 7, 2017