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Last Updated: Sep 20, 2017

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!

Last Updated: Mar 18, 2015
Public Art Commission
02/18/2016 Bowman School Public Art Project Review
08/17/2017 Agenda Attachement Item 1
08/17/2017 Agenda Attachement Item 3
08/17/2017 Agenda Attachment Item 2
08/17/2017 Agenda Attachment Item 4
08/17/2017 Agenda Attachment Item 6
09/15/16 PAC Action Item 1 Attachment
09/15/16 PAC Action Item 2 Attachment
09/15/16 PAC Action Item 6 Attachment
09/17/15 PAC Agenda ATT 1 - Stanford
09/17/2015 Agenda ATT Action Item 2
(230 Forest Ave)
09/17/2015 Agenda ATT Action Item 3
(ARG Condition Report)
09/21/2017 Action Item 1 - Avenidas Staff Report
10/15/15 PAC Agenda ATT 1 Action Item
12/18 PAC ATT1
12/18 PAC ATT2_2
2016/2017 Prequalified Artist Pool: City of Palo Alto Public Art Program
(Call for Artists)
3/17/16 PAC Agenda Action Item 1_441 Page Mill Road
3/17/2016 PAC Agenda Non Action 2_3251 Hanover St
3/17/2016 PAC Agenda Non Action 3_2600 ECR
3/17/2016 PAC Non Action 4_E.Charleston - Arastradero Staff Report
5/15/2017 PAC Agenda Action Item 1
5/19/16 Action Item 2 - PAMP Full Report
6/12/2017 PAC Special Meeting Attachment 1
8.20.15 PAC Meeting_Action Item I
Adgenda October 20 PAC
Agenda - October 20
Agenda ItemII Christine Gray
APPLICATION FORM_Public Art in Private Development
APPLICATION PACKET_Public Art in Private Development
April 21, 2016 Agenda Item 4 - Fire Station 3 Staff Report
April 21, 2016 Agenda Non-Action Item 4_Policy Docs for PAMP
Art for Private Development ORDINANCE
Avenidas Project 1/19/17
Brilliance Text
BROCHURE_Public Art in Private Development
Christine Gray Bio
Christine Gray Bio
CodeART Project Map
Conversation Press Release
Conversation_Terms of Use Guidelines
Deaccession of Artwork Policy 1-59 CSD
Feb 16, 2017 Staff Report_101 Bike Bridge
Gift of Artwork Policy 1-60 CSD
Hoover Park Artwork
ItemII Rev1 Jan 19
Jan 21, 2016 Attachment Action Item 1 - CASP Donations
Jan 21, 2016 Non-Action Item 3 - Developer Application
January 19 Agenda
January19 Agenda Rev1
January19 Agenda Rev2
Joyce Hsu Artwork Item III
July 20, 2017 Agenda Item 2 - Cal Ave Garage Staff Report
July 23 PAC Agenda Attachment 1
June 20, 2017 Agenda Item 3 - 3045 Park Ave
MAP_What's the big idea_Flyer
Minutes - September 15
Minutes PAC September 15
Mitchell Park Public Art Map
Nov 17, 2016 Minutes
Nov 19, 2015 Agenda Attachment_MAP PROJECT SUMMARY
November 19, 2015 Special Meeting Agenda Att_EMERGING THEMES
October 20 Minutes
October 20 PAC
October 20 PAC Regular Meeting Agenda L
October 20 StaffReport ItemII
Open Call - Urban Inventions
PAC 1/22_Non-Action 2_ATT1
PAC 1/22_Non-Action2_ATT2
PAC 1/22_Non-Action2_ATT3
PAC 1/22_Non-Action3_PrDev
PAC 12/18 Att2_1
PAC 2/19/2015 Item II Attachment
PAC Final Review_Item 3_April 16,2015
PAC Initial and Final Reviews - Checklist
PAC Initial Review Checklist
PAC Meeting Agenda Attachement Item 4
PAC Meeting Attachment Item 2
PAC Meeting Nov 20 Attachment 2
PAC Meeting November 20 Attachment 1
PAC October 20, 2016 Meeting
PAC Staff Report_Zirker Donation_April 16, 2015
PAC Study Session_PAMP Draft and Appendices_March 17
Public Art Approval Process Chart_Muni
Public Art in City Improvement Projects Policy 1-45 CSD
((Muni CIP Policy - Updated Dec 2016))
Public Art Master Plan
Public Letter to PAC_4/20/2017
Questions About Your City - MAP
Questions about your city - TEXT UPDATED
RFP - Temporary Public Art Call 2015
RFP: Artist Designed Intersection
September 15 Minutes
SV Business Journal
Temporary Artwork Policy 1-61 CSD
Truth Booth Launches "In Search of the Truth"
Updated Municipal Ordinance_3.1.2015
Weekly CodeART