Learn, Discover, and be Inspired by Exhibitions

With free admission and a welcoming atmosphere, our shows offer something for everyone! The Art Center’s acclaimed exhibitions bring the work of both emerging and professional artists to the community. Our thought-provoking exhibitions feature works of high aesthetic quality and craftsmanship produced in a wide range of artistic media. Thanks to the support of the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation, exhibitions organized by the Palo Alto Art Center have traveled to museums and art institutions throughout the country.

Artist and Exhibition Submission Guidelines

The Palo Alto Art Center welcomes artist and exhibition submissions for our exhibition program. Exhibitions at the Art Center reinforce the connection between seeing and making art that is central to our mission. Please note that our exhibitions are planned three years in advance and due to the large volume of submissions, we cannot guarantee a response to all. The Palo Alto Art Center prefers submissions by email. Please submit 5 digital images of artwork in jpeg format and/or artist website link, resume and artist statement to artcenter@cityofpaloalto.org. Be sure to include your contact information including your email address, phone number and mailing address.

To see images of both our exhibitions and our opening celebrations please visit our Flickr page.

Currently on View

Encounters: Honoring the Animal in Ourselves

Exhibition Dates: September 14—December 29, 2019

Image of man feeding fox

Image credit: Corey Arnold, Introduction to Fox, photograph, 30x40 in. Image courtesy of the artist.


"Defining the animals as a way of defining the human is as old and common as beer”

         —Onno Oerlemans, “Poetry and Animals: Blurring the Boundary with the Human”

“In the summer sun of the hillside, with my eyes
Far more than human. I saw for a blazing moment
The great grassy world from both sides”

         —James Dickey, “The Sheep Child”

Our connection with, and attention to, the abstract Humankind was born living alongside other animals, studying their behavior, sharing resources, fighting for land, sleeping under the same sky. As civilization progresses and cultural paradigms shift, it is inevitable that our relationship to our nonhuman brethren would also change. Today, other animals possess an endless number of positions in society. They are political pawns, commodities to be bought and sold, and pests to be eradicated. As often and as much they are beloved companions, symbols of beauty and innocence, and essential to environmental stability. They are worshipped and slaughtered in what is, unfortunately, unequal measure. If human activity continues at its current rate, we will lose half of all species by the end of this century.
Our artist ancestors, who painted in blood and carved into stone the likenesses of the animals with whom they shared space, had no choice but to locate themselves within the context of the greater ecosystem. Today, encountering an undomesticated creature as we go about our daily lives is, at least in most urban areas, an event of note. Watching a coyote cross a busy street, glimpsing a bobcat on a hike, following a hawk as it circles above, or even finding a salamander in a backyard, can be a singular occurrence in the course of a human life.
All the artists in this exhibition have had, or imagine they have had, revelatory encounters with other animals. Even more, they find meaning for their own lives by interpreting these occurrences. Drawing freely from the characteristics, behaviors, and archetypes of the nonhuman animal world they examine the events and emotional content of their lives, exploring themes of kinship, identity, hybridity, death, and love.