Art Center Celebrates 45th Anniversary with Year-long Series of Events

Art Center Celebrates 45th Anniversary with Year-long Series of Events

The Palo Alto Art Center has launched its 45th anniversary celebration with a year-long series of community events, ambitious exhibitions, ceramic artist residencies, an Art Center historic timeline, informative lectures, and much more.

The celebration kicked off in earnest on May 1 with a community tea, the public dedication and unveiling of an “Art Center Drive” commemorative sign with Palo Alto Mayor Pat Burt, and a Spring Family Day.

“For 45 years, the Palo Alto Art Center has offered a place where everyone can be an artist and where each and every community member can learn, create, and be inspired,” says Art Center Director Karen Kienzle. “This anniversary will provide an important opportunity for us to reflect upon our accomplishments, celebrate our achievements, and look forward to our future impact. We look forward to celebrating this milestone with the entire community.”

Created by the community and for the community in 1971, the Palo Alto Art Center has provided a place where everyone can participate in the arts. The Palo Alto Community Cultural Center opened its doors on May 1, 1971 after a period of intense lobbying by community members intent on creating a place for the arts in Palo Alto. The former City Hall building was transformed into a community center for artistic exploration. In 1999, the Palo Alto Cultural Center (PACC) formally became the Palo Alto Art Center (PAAC). The new designation was intended to more successfully represent the Center's focus on the visual arts.

As part of our 45th anniversary celebrations, the Art Center will also be launching a new monumental sign at the corner of Newell and Embarcadero. Designed by artist Darin Wacs, who created the signs at the Junior Museum & Zoo and the Children’s Library, the sign expresses the wonder and inspiration the Art Center and the Library ignite in our community. Slated for installation in the fall of 2016, this sign is made possible by the City of Palo Alto in partnership with the Peery Foundation.

The 45th anniversary celebration continues on June 17 with 45 Days of Clay, an organization-wide initiative dedicated to celebrating the Art Center’s role in providing more than four decades of ceramic art and education in the community. This unique program of exhibitions, workshops, hands-on opportunities, and residencies for all ages will showcase the broad range of artistic approaches to clay by both emerging and established artists.

The powerful potential of ceramic sculpture on an immense scale will be celebrated by the Palo Alto Art Center during its exhibition, Fired Up: Monumental Clay, beginning June 18. The exhibition will feature the work of diverse artists from collections throughout the region and around the country, as well as a limited number of site-specific installations. The exhibition will take over the Palo Alto Art Center galleries, public and outdoor spaces with large-scale ceramic sculpture and installation. A free Friday Night at the Art Center on June 17, 7-10 p.m., featuring food, drinks, artmaking activities, and a chance to meet the artists, will kick off the exhibition.

Other 45th anniversary activities taking place during the coming months include:

• The installation of an Anniversary Selfie Station photo booth in the Nook, June 17-August 28
• Ceramic artist residencies, June 23-August 20
• Percolate Coffee Talks: Big Clay by the Bay, 7-8 p.m., July 28
• Clay Family Day, 2-4:30 p.m., August 7
Fired Up: Monumental Clay Artist Panel Discussion,2-3 p.m., August 7
• 45 Stories for 45 Years: Community members share their Art Center memories, Summer 2016
The Butterfly Effect: Art in 1970s California, September 17-December 30
• Friday Night at the Art Center, celebrating The Butterfly Effect exhibition, 7-10 p.m., September 16
• Creative Ecology with artist-in-residence Jenny Odell, October 7-December 11
• Global Family Day, 2-4:30 p.m., October 16
• Holiday Family Day, 2-4:30 p.m., December 4
• Friday Night at the Art Center, celebrating the opening of Spectral Hues, 7-10 p.m., January 27, 2017
• Creative Ecology with artist-in-residence Mari Andrews, March 17-May 21, 2017
Cultural Kaleidoscope and Youth Art Exhibition, April 29-May 28, 2017

Last Updated: May 13, 2016