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Public Art Commission

  Roger Stoller, Cloud Forest, 2012 Detail 
   Mitchell Park Library, Palo Alto CA

Public Art Program
1313 Newell Road
Palo Alto, CA 94301

Temporary Location
1305 Middlefield Road 
Palo Alto, CA 94301

Staff Liaison:
Elise DeMarzo
Phone: 650-617-3517
Fax: 650-326-6165

Public Art Program Assistant:
Nadya Chuprina
Phone: 650-329-2227

View Minutes/Agendas

About the Palo Alto Public Art Program

The Public Art Program seeks to increase the public's daily exposure to art about the City of Palo Alto through the commission of murals, sculpture, functional seating and amenities, and rotating temporary public art. The Public Art Commission (PAC) primarily collects art by artists who have lived or worked in the Bay Area, or exhibited in the Palo Alto Art Center, but commissions artists from a broader spectrum for the permanently sited artworks. The seven member body of Commissioners appointed by City Council advises the City of Palo Alto on the commission, display and maintenance of artworks throughout the City of Palo Alto. To get the latest news on the public art projects and activities taking place around town, subscribe to our monthly e-news.

Featured Projects

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 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!