The Public Art Commission, chartered by the City of Palo Alto in 1976, seeks to increase the public’s daily exposure to art throughout the City of Palo Alto. The seven member body appointed by City Council is responsible for the commission, display and maintenance of permanently sited artworks as well as a portable collection of more than 200 objects on display in Municipal facilities.
The three dimensional collection reflects the diverse interests and populations of Palo Alto. From the land art in the baylands and many artworks on California Avenue “the Avenue of the Arts” to the more figurative works, the art in public places collection has something for every interest. The collection includes emerging talent as well as well established, world renowned artists such as Fletcher Benton, Betty Gold, Gene Flores, and Bruce Beasley. Each artwork is selected with the particular site and audience in mind.
Regular Public Art Commission meetings are held at 7pm on the third Thursday of each month at City Hall.
Interactive LED Tree Sculpture to Light Up City Hall Plaza On November 16, 2013
Image by Camaelon, 2011
The City of Palo Alto’s Public Art you to the unveiling ceremony of Aurora, an interactive light sculpture celebrating innovation, technology and environmental sustainability by Bay Area artist Charles Gadeken. The opening event will be held on Saturday, November 16, from 3pm to 7pm in King Plaza with the lighting of the sculpture for the first time set for 5:30. The event will also feature live music, vendors, performances and leaf-making workshops throughout the evening. Aurora is a temporary, independently funded installation. The project is brought to Palo Alto as a result of a collaborative initiative of the artist, local community members and youth with support of the Black Rock Arts Foundation, the Palo Alto Downtown Business Association and the City of Palo Alto.
Aurora is a life-size interactive LED sculpture originally commissioned for Burning Man in 2011. A 30 foot tall, opalescent weeping willow tree with a 40 foot canopy of 40,000 LED lights glows and transitions slowly through the color spectrum creating a vision of a living breathing luminous tree. During the day, its 4,000 hand-beaten copper leaves give the piece movement and sound. At night, the tree comes alive with dazzling light providing spectacular illumination of the area around City Hall. Audience participation is a critical element to Aurora’s concept. An interactive web interface enables users to control the tree with their smartphones by modifying the color and pattern of the 40,000 LED lights. Visitors will be able to access the interface following the official lighting on November 16.Visit www.aurorapaloalto.com to learn more about the project and artist.
Mitchell Park Library and Community Center
Artist Brad Oldham's bollards, Wise and Whimsy, were installed in front of the new Mitchell Park Library and Community Center September 21st. This is the first of four art installations at the site.
The Permanent Collection Maintenance Program
The Pubic Art Commission is hard at work undertaking an ambitious maintenance and restoration project for the permanent collection. Many of our artworks are being cleaned and receiving preventative treatment to protect them from the elements. Some of the works that have received more aggressive treatment or repair are: Albuquerque by Gayle Wagner, Rrrun by Marta Thoma, and Nude in Steel by Hans Wehrli. If you notice vandalism or artworks in disrepair, please call out office immediately at 650-329-2227. Thank you!