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


Subject :

Parent Artists Share the Challenges and Opportunities Around COVID-Parenting in "Holding it Together" Exhibition
Contact : Ken Heiman, Marketing Coordinator, Palo Alto Art Center    6506173511
Vanessa Woods, Each One of Us Was Fastened to the Other, 49 Panel unique collage from original photographs, 44 x 44 Inches, 202

PALO ALTO, CA– The Palo Alto Art Center presents Holding it Together, an exhibition that playfully examines the state of parenting during a pandemic, in which work and life bleed into each other, and projects remain incomplete. The exhibition, which runs from November 3-December 12, offers a glimpse into making art while sheltering in place with family, celebrating the chaotic, the unmade, the messy, and the half-finished.

“So many community members are charged with the seemingly impossible challenge of managing family and professional life during this already-difficult pandemic. The Art Center is delighted to be able to explore this issue through the work of ten compelling Bay Area artists. We hope that the entire community can participate in the important dialogue around this exhibition, sharing how they are successfully or unsuccessfully holding it together during COVID.” Said Karen Kienzle, Art Center director.

Artists in the Holding it Together exhibition participated in a residency program in 2018 for parent artists, led by artist Jill Miller and launched in conjunction with the fall 2018 exhibition The Art of Parenthood.

Holding it Together centers on the intimate and the personal, offering glimpses into the lives of artists sheltering in place with their families. The exhibition includes work across several forms and mediums, including: video, sculpture, painting, drawing, installation, and community-generated projects. Jill Miller’s video work explores her mother’s unexpected death during the pandemic through a series of Zoom meetings featuring her mother’s titanium hip. Benicia Gantner’s sculptures re-contextualize everyday objects, transforming disposable paper plates into colorful forms that reference and visualize data that have shaped our recent lives, such as air quality index ratings, wildfire activity and coronavirus statistics.

The exhibition includes a collaborative community project entitled, How do you hold it together?, that invites the public to share different ways they cope with the stressors and challenges of pandemic life. One of the exhibition’s participating artists, Robin Mullery, remarks, “We really wanted to give parents in the community a place to express how they have been holding it together during shelter in place—no extra work or another thing to do, just show what you’ve got on your phone already.”The public is invited to participate by sending images via Instagram (@paloaltoartcenter), email (, or text (650) 646-5344.                           

Participating artists include: Alexandra Bailliere, Karen Leslie Ficke, Benicia Gantner, Amy Hibbs, Jenny Hynes, Jill Miller, Robin Mullery, Ashley Lauren Saks, Trevor Tubelle, and Vanessa Woods.

The Palo Alto Art Center is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The Art Center’s operation is being coordinated in close compliance with County and State guidance to promote community safety. Attendance is restricted to 25% capacity and keeping a safe distance and wearing a face covering will be enforced.

About the Palo Alto Art Center:
The Palo Alto Art Center is your place to see and make art, activate your creativity, and expand your community. 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 150,000 people every yearthrough a diverse range of programs.

The Palo Alto Art Center, Division of Arts and Sciences, within the City of Palo Alto Community Services Department 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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