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


Subject :

The Art of Balancing Parenthood and Artistic Practice
Exhibition at Palo Alto Art Center Explores the Challenges Artists Face while Raising a Family
Contact : Ken Heiman    4082302304
Rania Matar, Barbie Girl, Beirut, 2006, from the series Ordinary Lives, archival pigment print, courtesy of the artist

PALO ALTO, CA– What are the challenges faced by a professional artist who is raising a family and how do these issues impact the artist’s work? These are the prevalent questions that will be explored by more than a dozen artists in the Palo Alto Art Center’s Care and Feeding: The Art of Parenthood exhibition, September 15-December 30.

“This exhibition explores the unique questions artists face, from both internal and external forces, when they become parents,” says Art Center Director Karen Kienzle. “It is their response to the once-pervasive conception that artists cannot be dedicated to their creative work while raising a family. The exhibition highlights the challenges we all have balancing our professional and personal lives.”

Any type of generalization in reference to parenthood is problematic. The emotions, circumstances, challenges, and benefits involved are far too complex. What we can speak to, and what we hope this exhibition highlights, is the mosaic of issues and opportunities that arise for artists when they become parents, and the intimate, poignant, and illuminating work which results.

Artists often feel as if they are what they create. When what is created is a child, however, a paradoxical and staggering loss of self can result. Less time in the studio, less time alone, the pressures of domesticity—all of these can contribute to a dramatic re-consideration of what it means to be creative. Using humor and often including his children in his work, Alberto Aguilar has gracefully found ways to blend his home life with his art practice. Children have a marvelous ability to touch everything, and parents have an innate capacity to receive their children into their lives completely. For artists Lenka Clayton and Rebecca Silberman, documenting this process of integration is their vehicle for expression.

But artists are not the only ones who face challenges when it comes to navigating a professional life while maintaining a healthy sense of self. Realizing the right balance, and finding strength within it, is a universal endeavor. Whether we are parents or not, we can all find inspiration in the union of personal and professional, intimate and formal, that these works of art represent.

Artists participating in the exhibition include: Pilar Agüero-Esparza, Alberto Aguilar, Lenka Clayton, Tara Donovan, Jeremiah Jenkins, Rania Matar, Jill Miller, Hilary Pecis, Lezley Saar, Claudette Scheuders, Manjari Sharma and Irina Rozovsky, Rebecca Silberman, Tabitha Soren, and Josephine Taylor.

The Care and Feeding: The Art of Parenthood exhibition is curated by Selene Foster and Andrea Antonaccio.

A special Friday Night at the Art Center opening celebration will be held on September 14, 7-10 p.m., featuring an opportunity to meet some of the exhibiting artists, hands-on artmaking activities, music, food, and a cash bar. Palo Alto Art Center Foundation members are invited to participate in a walkthrough of the exhibition with the Art Center Director from 6-7 p.m.

Being Human Artist Residency and Social Practice Artwork:
Being Human is an experimental, collaborative project between the Palo Alto Art Center, artist Jill Miller, and 10 San Francisco Bay Area artists who are also parents. Participants will use their parenting struggles and challenges as a catalyst for producing art. They will meet once each week for eight weeks, and each week’s activities will be inspired by one of Erik Erikson’s Eight Stages of Psychosocial Development. Followed consecutively, these stages trace the complete life span of a human being. The progress and results of this project will be on view in our Glass Gallery over the course of the exhibition

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 anartist. Created by the community, for the community in 1971, the Palo Alto Art Center provides anaccessible and welcoming place to engage with art. We serve approximately 120,000 people every yearthrough 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.

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