News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301


Subject :

Artist-In-Residence David Tomb Creates Immersive Experience
Creative Ecology Exhibit Inspired inspired by Palo Alto Baylands and Native Birds
Contact : Ken Heiman    6506173511

PALO ALTO, CA– Beginning April 26, visitors to the Palo Alto Art Center will be able to walk through a diorama-like installation of the Palo Alto Baylands created by artist-in-residence David Tomb as part of his Creative Ecology exhibition, King Tides and Elusive Rails.

The interactive exhibition will feature drawings, paintings, pop-up sculptures and cut-outs of birds spotted at the Baylands during the first part of Tomb’s residency earlier this year. The installation also incorporates stylized interpretations of the mud flats and marshes constructed of paper and cardboard, as well as a soundtrack of birds. Artist David Tomb found inspiration for the installation both in the Baylands and in natural history dioramas. His exhibition is intended to provide an experience that visitors can walk into—immersing them in a representation of a natural environment.

“In some ways, it’s like going bird-spotting—you really have to keep a sharp eye out and pay attention to the details,” says Tomb.

In his installation, birds walk along the mud flats, wade among the reeds and take flight from the gallery walls. Tomb plans to alter his presentation slightly throughout the course of the exhibition to further recreate the experience of visiting the Baylands.

Tomb completed the first part of his three-month residency in January, leading bird-spotting tours of the Palo Alto Baylands with members of the community and engaging in bird-themed artmaking activities at the Lucy Evans Baylands Nature Interpretive Center. The second phase of his residency took place in March at the Art Center and involved speaking to the public about his artistic process, the creation of exhibition artwork, and inviting visitors to sketch bird-related images using mounted birds from the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo.

King Tides and Elusive Rails will be exhibited April 26-July 3. An exhibition walkthrough and reception with the artist will be held at the Palo Alto Art Center on April 29, 7-8 p.m., and is open to the public. Tomb will also be presenting a free public lecture on June 9, 7 p.m., at the Palo Alto Art Center.

His effort is part of Creative Ecology: Exploring Our Environment with Art, Science, and the Community, an innovative program promoting appreciation of the natural world through scientific inquiry and the creative process. The effort includes artists, educators and the larger community, and is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and made possible through a partnership between the Palo Alto Art Center and the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo.

There will be four separate artist residencies as part of Creative Ecology. Each artist residency is divided into three unique phases. The first phase takes place in the field at a local open space preserve and engages different community groups and the public in a range of activities. During the second phase of each residency, artists will take inspiration from their time in-the-field, creating new work on-site at the Art Center. The third phase of the residency will culminate their artwork and will be presented in an exhibition with related programming.            

About Artist David Tomb:
San Francisco-based artist David Tomb received his B.F.A. from CSU Long Beach. His work has been featured in solo exhibitions at the Fresno Art Museum, Electric Works, the Triton Museum of Art, San Francisco Public Library and the University Museum at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and group exhibitions at the Center for Contemporary Arts Santa Fe, the Arkansas Art Center, and the Naples Museum of Art. Tomb’s work is included in the collections of the Oakland Museum of California, the Huntington Library, and the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

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 90,000 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 Silicon Valley Creates and 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, private donations, and members.

About the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo:
The Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo, Division of Arts and Sciences, City of Palo Alto has an 80-year legacy of inspiring a passion for science, an appreciation for nature and a love of exploration. The JMZ experience can change children’s lives by introducing them to science and nature at a formative state. We provide enhanced experiences for children, from birth to middle school, offering direct access to nature and science through undirected play and exploration.

The JMZ currently serves as a primary resource for science and environmental learning for 8 of 12 Palo Alto elementary schools and for Willow Oaks School and Brentwood Academy in the Ravenswood School District. By using a trained staff of science educators who provide STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education, in-depth hands-on programs reach 16,700 students each year. Educators travel to elementary classrooms in Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, Menlo Park, San Mateo and throughout the region to provide core science classes that complement school district curriculum.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services:
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive.  To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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