Public Art Program

The City of Palo Alto Public Art Program is committed to contributing to the intellectual, emotional, and creative life of the Palo Alto community by creating engaging art experiences and dynamic public spaces for Palo Alto residents and visitors. The Program operates in accordance with Chapter 2.26 of Palo Alto Municipal Code to provide opportunities for the placement of permanent and temporary site-specific public art projects in municipal projects across Palo Alto. Additionally, the Program oversees the implementation of the Ordinance requirement to incorporate public art in private development projects. The Public Art Commission (PAC) reviews and advises the Public Art Program on selection, placement, and care of public art throughout the City of Palo Alto.

   

Currently on Display 

Banners & Barrier Covers

The City Manager’s Office and the Public Art Program are happy to announce new aesthetic upgrades to the Downtown and California Avenue districts as part of ongoing Uplift Local initiatives. Local artist Durba Sen created eight abstract paintings called Joyous Moments inspired by the California Avenue district. Her vibrant paintings are being reproduced as barrier covers to enliven this important commercial corridor.

Artist Krista Fay Beams has designed a series of eight banner designs that will be installed along the California Avenue corridor light poles. Her designs feature plants, emphasizing their growth patterns, and how those mirror the directional flow of foot traffic throughout Cal Ave on a bustling Sunday morning.

Palo Alto artist Lauren Jane Berger has designed pole banner designs and a barrier cover for the University Avenue area. Inspired by the many activities downtown, Lauren has incorporated imagery referencing our galleries, cafes, multicultural food options, live music, and even the parrots. 

Durba Sen all artworks

Joyous Moments, 2022, Durba Sen

Passage by Susan Zoccola installed along the Charleston-Arastradero Corridor

Five sculptures by artist Susan Zoccola have been installed along the Charleston-Arastradero Corridor. The sculpture series named Passage is inspired by the water filtration systems in the landscaping and the heavily used bike corridor. The sculptures are diatoms, a single-celled algae forming a silica-based cell wall, also resembling a bike wheel. Zoccola's colorful compositions are highlighting the pedestrian and bicycle traffic at key places along the corridor.

Arastradero/King Arthur sculpture

Passage (one of five sculptures), Susan Zoccola, 2022. Image credit: Jim Colton

Explore Our Collection with Mapme

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Special Projects

ArtLift Microgrant Program

The ArtLift Microgrant Program has been available to artists and creatives with the goal of helping the community find connection and joy through the arts and creative outlets. Temporary art projects and experiences, funded through ArtLift Microgrants, encourage play, belonging, community participation, and promote shared experiences in and around Palo Alto, while fostering safe and creative ways to remain engaged in the arts, reconnect with each other, and come together as a resilient community. 

ArtLift Projects in 2022

ArtLift Projects in 2021

Mission

The Palo Alto Public Art Program promotes the highest caliber of artwork, commissioning memorable public artworks and experiences that stimulate discussion and thoughtful reflection, celebrating Palo Alto’s character and enhancing civic pride and sense of place.

 

Vision

Public art reflects Palo Alto’s people, diverse neighborhoods, the innovative and global character of its businesses and academic institutions, and the beauty of its natural environment.

About the Collection

The City collection of public art is comprised of approximately 100 permanently sited works and over 200 portable works of art in a diverse range of media. All works are commissioned and acquired through a public process. The portable collection features works by artists who have lived, worked, exhibited in, or been inspired by Palo Alto. The artworks are exhibited throughout City facilities and accessible to the public on a daily basis. From the land art in the Baylands to the more figurative works, the collection of permanently sited and integrated artworks reflects the diverse interests and populations of Palo Alto. It includes emerging talent as well as well established, world-renowned artists such as Nathan Oliveira, Fletcher Benton, Betty Gold, Gene Flores, and Bruce Beasley. Each artwork is selected with the particular site and audience in mind.

View the Public Art Collection Map to explore all locations of permanently-sited artworks in Palo Alto.

 

Collection Care & Maintenance Program

The Public Art Program is committed to ongoing maintenance and restoration projects for the permanent collection. Permanent and temporary artworks are regularly cleaned and receive preventative treatments to protect them from the elements. Some of the works receive more extensive conservation and repair treatments. If you notice vandalism or artworks in disrepair, please call the Public Art office immediately at (650) 329-2227. Thank you!

 

Help Us Preserve the Public Art Collection

Your tax-deductible donations to the Public Art Program are essential to support our ongoing maintenance and conservation efforts for the Palo Alto Public Art Collection. The collection is comprised of over 300 permanently sited and portable works of art by local and world-renowned artists. Together we can preserve the artworks for future generations. Thank you!

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