Michelle Yin

The Palo Alto Art Center, located on Newell and Embarcadero, celebrated its grand opening on Oct. 6 after a year and half of renovations with performances, arts and crafts activities for both children and adults, as well as the promotion of its new galleries.
Originally built in 1953 by architect Leslie Nichols, the facility now has a new brightened look through the incorporation of fiber-glass doors and windows, and raised ceiling to create a sense of space for the galleries.  In addition, walls were freshly painted and new lighting was installed in order to highlight the new galleries.
“The transformed gallery space is much more open and expansive with concrete floors and new lighting,” director Karen Kienzle said.  “ We also created a new open lobby space that welcomes visitors into the facility and a new Children’s Wing with double the number of classrooms for kids.”
The primary objective of this project was to transform the Art Center into a more “cherished and appreciated” resource for the community, according to Kienzle.
A multitude of unique new galleries and exhibitions were built including artists Angela Filo’s “Palo Alto Forest.” Filo is most known for documenting the changing landscape of the Silicon Valley and in this gallery, she printed historic Palo Alto trees on glass collected from local community members.
Another project on display that can be seen along Embarcadero Road as well is artist Anthony Discenza’s “Community Advice.” Discenza collected advice from many people around the community and used it to created street signs.
Also on display is Jean Finley and Mel Day’s delicate video exhibition, inspired by local senior center Lytton Gardens.
“This exhibition was created in attempt to not only honor but also celebrate the critical transitions that the seniors are going through,” said Day. “We wanted to give some of the physically immobile seniors a sense of going somewhere.”
With the help of Stanford Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) scientists, Day and Finley were able to document the seniors singing and transform the space to sound like a performance in the Stanford Memorial Church.
This cheerful grand opening made the center family-friendly by offering a heap of activities for the public to enjoy.
“My favorite activity is easily making the marshmallow shooters,” junior Callie Walker said. “The kids love them.”
Besides building these marshmallow guns, activities like Mardi Gras themed mask making, sculpting, drawing and ceramic tile making that will be incorporated in artists Carlos Ramirez’s Mesoamerican pyramid gallery.
The renovated center is also reopening and offering many new workshops and classes now including Ceramics, paint-making, oil painting, watercolor, enameling, jewelry-making and an abundance of other intriguing selections. The prices of
these classes range from low costs around three to five dollars per session and $15 monthly, making it extremely affordable for the public.
“I would totally want to take the jewelry making workshop and the painting classes,” junior Shiri Arnon said. “It sounds like a great experience.”