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


Subject :

Artist Jenny Odell to Document the Emotional Connection between People and their Trash
Community Members are asked to bring in Items they no Longer Want
Contact : Ken Heiman    6506173511

PALO ALTO, CA–One person’s trash may be another person’s treasure, and artist Jenny Odell is asking members of the community to bring in their items they no longer want—and yet are reluctant to discard—as part of the second phase of her Creative Ecology residency at the Palo Alto Art Center.

Odell will collect items that are described as “pre-trash” or “emotional collateral” that people are hesitant to throw away, objects to which they have a personal attachment. Odell will then speak to each participant, record the experience and take a photo of the person with the object. Articles will be collected in a clear bin and Odell will select which objects to research in depth.

As part of Jenny Odell’s in-the-gallery residency at the Palo Alto Art Center, she will accumulate items from the public on Tuesday, July 19 and Saturday, July 23, as well as Saturday, August 13 and Saturday, August 27, from 12 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Odell is interested in creating opportunities to connect the personal to the global in this project. What personal decisions about collecting and discarding have a global environmental impact? Through in-the-field and in-the-gallery projects, Odell connects people to their trash and that of others, and showcases the global impact of our focus on consumption.

During the in-the-field portion of her residency in June, she led an art activity in which visitors created a “garbage selfie” by using discarded/recyclable materials, tours of the Palo Alto Regional Water Quality Control Plant took place, and participants learned about the process of recycling water through science activities presented by the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo. She also discussed the art and history of former landfill Byxbee Park in Palo Alto.

An exhibition featuring the artwork created by Odell, which will include the large clear container of objects and printed images, will be held October 7-December 11 at the Palo Alto Art Center. An exhibition walkthrough and reception with the artist will be held on October 7, 7-8 p.m. Odell will also be presenting a free public lecture November 2, 7-8 p.m., at the Palo Alto Art Center.                                                                                                                                                                   Page 1 of 3

Odell’s 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 are 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 Palo Alto Art Center. The third phase of the residency will culminate their artwork and will be presented in an exhibition with related programming. 

About Artist Jenny Odell:
Jenny Odell received a BA in English from UC Berkeley and an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. Her work has been exhibited at the Contemporary Jewish Museum (current show), Intersection for the Arts, Google Headquarters, and in numerous publications including TIME’s Lightbox, the Atlantic, the Economist, and WIRED.

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 eight of 12 Palo Alto elementary schools and for six at-risk schools in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. By using a trained staff of science educators who provide STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education, in-depth hands-on programs reach 19,128 students this year. Educators travel to elementary classrooms in Palo Alto 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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