Creative Attention

Art and Community Restoration 

January 22-May 21, 2022

Creative Attention Art and Community Restoration logo  

Lettering by Christine Wong Yap.

Image description: A digital artwork with a background of light blue at the top, fading to light pink at the bottom, and with calligraphy-style text in blue, purple, and pink that reads: "Creative Attention: Art and Community Restoration".

Introduction to the exhibition

Alongside the courageous caregivers in the medical and psychological fields, visual artists have historically played an important role in contributing to community well-being. Whether they are using their practice to address social injustice, global pandemics, or personal trauma, artists possess a particular power unique to creatives. Through their visual messages they can provoke memories, stir debate, and inspire empathy.

Creative Attention includes artists who present alternatives to our chaotic world of stress and anxiety, through practices of mending, healing, restoration, belonging, sustainability, and resilience. Some of the work looks inward—addressing past personal struggles with illness, addiction, and loss. Other artists turn their attention outward to connect with those who are suffering and to find solidarity in our shared adversity. Universally, what begins in the studio, alters the life of the artist, who in turn brings that change to the world.  

The artists in this exhibition demonstrate their ability to tap into deep realms of the unconscious and release innate resources to persevere, recover, and heal others. Several look to nature as our ultimate example of eternal cycles—paying tribute to the cleansing aspects of water; the healing properties of plants; the language of flowers; and the interdependence of all beings. Some are teaching us about the remedies of stillness and meditation or offering comforting gifts of humor, memory, and tradition. 

By charting their own paths through adversity, these artists show us new ways of representing, processing, and ultimately solving the issues that surround us. Creative Attention collects their novel solutions, bringing together works in a broad range of media that encourage viewers to slow down, and recharge, promoting community connections and restoration.

—Ann Trinca
Guest Curator



Please review the Final Evaluation Report for Creative Attention here.(PDF, 1MB)


Creative Attention: Art and Community Restoration is supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the National Endowment for the Arts.

IMLS logo      NEA logo

We would like to acknowledge Pamela and David Hornik for their special gift to support the artists for public and educational programs. The exhibition is also generously funded by Alliance members Hua Ai and Stanley Liu, John Antoun, Brigid Barton, Kenneth Bird, Barbara and Tim Carman, Judy David and Ric Ferras, Sue and John Diekman, Mary J Elmore, Sally Glaser and David Bower, Loren and Mike Gordon, Pamela and David Hornik, Amy and Glen Kacher, Alyce and Steve Kaplan, Chris Kenrick, Carol Kenyon, Iris and Hal Korol, Beverly and Peter Lipman, Marissa Mayer and Zachary Bogue, Marcia Pugsley and Kent Mather, Bill Reller and Kris Klint, Susie Richardson and Hal Luft, Susan Rosenberg, Dorothy Saxe, Judith Stewart, Mara and Rick Wallace.

The Palo Alto Art Center, Division of Arts and Sciences, City of Palo Alto, is funded in part by grants from the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation. The Palo Alto Art Center Foundation gratefully acknowledges support from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Yellow Chair Foundation, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Acton Family Giving, SVCreates, in partnership with the County of Santa Clara, private donations, and members.