Maria PazPermanence (I Will Always Be Here), 2017, Ceramic and glaze, Courtesy of the artist and pt.2 Gallery

Where the Heart Is: Contemporary Art by Immigrant Artists

Exhibition Dates: March 6-April 3, 2021

“I am from there. I am from here. I am not there and I am not here. I have two names, which meet and part, and I have two languages. I forget which of them I dream in.”

―Mahmoud Darwish 

There are more foreign-born residents in Santa Clara County than in any other county in California, about 38% of the total population. In a state that has more immigrants than any other and a country than has a larger immigrant population than any other in the world, this is a truly meaningful statistic and one we should not ignore.

The artists in this exhibition inspect their identities and heal divisions using thoughtful encounters with strangers and an empowered gaze. With great confidence, each has refused to conform. With improvisation and adaptation of both media and spirit, they give representation to those communities who are often unheard. These artists push beyond counterproductive categorizations and fearlessly enter a world of hybridization.  

 Looking into the faces in the portraits exhibited here, it is easy to feel connected by a common humanity and also appreciate the significance of history and ancestry. A sensitivity to both is the grace on offer, one we would all do well to welcome home.

Exhibiting Artists

Zina Al-Shukri

Paolo Arao

Firelei Báez

Susan Chen

Binh Danh

Claudio Dicochea

Guillermo Galindo

Jiha Moon

Aliza Nisenbaum

Maria Paz

Zemer Peled

Yulia Pinkusevich

Lien Truong

Saya Woolfalk

Xiaoze Xie

Please see a link to a flickr album of images from the show. And installation images.

Associated Public Programs:

Where the Heart is Artist Talks: Jiha Moon—Link to past session

Where the Heart is Artist Talks: Maria Paz—Friday, March 5, 2021, 5 p.m., register here

Where the Heart is Artist Talks: Yulia Pinkusevich—Friday, March 12, 2021, 5 p.m., register here

Where the Heart Is Artist Talks: Lien Truong—Friday, April 2, 2021, 5 p.m., register here


Sanctuary City Project Residency

January - April 4, 2021

The Palo Alto Art Center is proud to present an installation and exhibition of the Sanctuary City Print Project. Through interactive installations, public projections, billboards, mobile printshop projects and exhibitions, the Project hopes to educate and engage participants and institutions on the topics of sanctuary cities and immigration.

 The Palo Alto Art Center project will consist of three installations along Embarcadero Road, two banners on the Embarcadero overpass and an exhibition that will exist virtually until state and county health guidelines allow access to the public. Virtual programs will engage the public until public programs can take place in-person. This project is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Where the Heart Is: Contemporary Art by Immigrant Artists at the Palo Alto Art Center.

This project is funded in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency.

The Butterfly Effect: Migration is Beautiful

March 5 - April 4, 2021

The Butterfly Effect: Migration is Beautiful is now on view in the Art Center’s lobby.  This is a community project initiated in 2017 by Lillian Hellis and Kaia Marbin, two youth activists in the Bay Area, who wanted to create a visual representation of the increasing number of migrant children currently in detention along the US border. To promote awareness and in hopes of preventing further child detention, they chose the butterfly as a symbol to make a statement that, like the Monarchs that migrate between California and Mexico every year, migration is beautiful. In the last two years they have led the creation of more than 50,000 butterflies with a goal of creating a total of 76,020, the number of children who were detained at the border. Butterflies are being created and displayed in public institutions like libraries, schools, and city halls across the US. Last month, the Palo Alto Art Center launched a call for the community to participate, inviting people to pick up origami paper and drop off finished paper butterflies at the doors of the Art Center. This installation comprises over 5,000 paper butterflies collected by the Art Center over a two-month period.