Palo Alto Art Center Showcases Individual and Community Resilience

Published on December 10, 2021

Creative Attention Initiative Celebrates Belonging and Healing Through Art


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Images from left to right: Caledonia Curry (SWOON), Cicada, 2019, Stop motion animation approx. 17 minutes, still, Courtesy of the artist and Deitch Projects; Corita Kent, me must be turned upside down, 1972, serigraph, © 2021 Estate of Corita Kent/ Immaculate Heart Community/ Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Esther Traugot, River Stones, 2018, granite stone pairs, dyed cotton/bamboo yarn, Courtesy of the artist.


PALO ALTO--The Palo Alto Art Center is pleased to present Creative Attention: Art and Community Restoration Jan. 22-May 21, 2022. Featuring the work of 18 artists from the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond, the exhibition showcases alternatives to our chaotic world of stress and anxiety, through practices of mending, healing, restoration, belonging, sustainability, and resiliency. 

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.

Artists in the exhibition include: Johnna Arnold, Lynn Beldner, Wes Bruce, Caledonia Curry (SWOON), Paz de la Calzada, Angela Hennessy, Alexander Hernandez, Jeremiah Jenkins, Corita Kent, Tucker Nichols, Marcel Pardo Ariza, Maria Paz, Jessi Rado, Leah Rosenberg, Lisa Solomon, Esther Traugot, Christine Wong Yap and Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle.

The exhibition will feature several site-specific installations, including a wall painting by Paz de la Calzada featuring plants collected in nearby City of Palo Alto Community Gardens, a site-specific collection of Flowers for Sick People, a multimedia art and health project by Tucker Nichols, an immersive installation by Wes Bruce exploring the meditative and healing properties of water, and Expanding Space Project, a project that combines meditation, photography, and social practice by Johnna Arnold.

Guest curator Ann Trinca shares the following about the exhibition, “The work of these artists is a hopeful indication that we can all find creative solutions for suffering. Each one approaches healing in an authentically kind way that reflects our shared human experience. This exhibition will elicit many emotions, most prominently a recognition of our resilience and need for community.”

The Creative Attention exhibition is part of a larger initiative that includes artist residencies, community art therapy workshops, and wellness programs. Christine Wong Yap will engage local teens and seniors in a residency project focused on places of belonging in Palo Alto and East Palo Alto, resulting in a site-specific Belonging Map that will be installed in the galleries beginning in March. Marcel Pardo Ariza will work in residence with the Avenidas Senior Center’s Rainbow Collective, hosting a series of workshops celebrating intergenerational LGBTQ+ personal stories. Art therapist Anh Tran will work in collaboration with community partners DreamCatchers, Stevenson House, and Palo Alto housing on a series of free art therapy workshops. And free wellness programs will be presented during the run of the exhibition.

Thanks to the support of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Creative Attention exhibition will continue accessibility components initiated by the previous The Art of Disability Culture exhibition, including audio descriptions and Braille labels. Social narratives will also be provided and available online for visitors with autism. 

Creative Attention was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. This project is also supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit

Free Public Programs Presented at the Palo Alto Art Center and Online

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Palo Alto Art Center will provide three free programs. 

Friday Night at the Art Center opening reception—Friday, Jan. 28, 2022, 6-8 p.m., FREE 
Join us at the Art Center for a special celebration of Creative Attention. This event will feature exhibition walkthroughs, a chance to hear from exhibiting artists, hands-on art activities, and a specialty cocktail and cash bar provided by the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation. 

Creative Attention Virtual Artist Residency Conversation with Christine Wong Yap and Marcel Pardo Ariza—Friday, Mar. 4, 2022, Zoom, FREE
Join our Creative Attention artist residents for a virtual presentation about their work and their residencies in conjunction with the project.

Community Day Celebration—Sunday, Apr. 10, 2022, noon-4 p.m., FREE
This Community Day Celebration will feature hands-on art activities, a sound bathing activity with Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle, and a special concluding drag queen performance led by Grace Towers. Bring your worn clothing and repair it in a special workshop with The Mending Collective, a collective of artists who wish to create a space for people to come together to learn and practice visual mending techniques. 

About the Palo Alto Art Center

The Palo Alto Art Center is your place to discover art. See, make, and be inspired because everyone is an artist. Created by the community, for the community in 1971, the Palo Alto Art Center provides an accessible and welcoming place to engage with art. We serve approximately 150,000 people every year through a diverse range of programs.

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.

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The full press release is available to download here(PDF, 346KB)