Town Square

Post a New Topic

Palo Alto expands public-art program

Original post made on Nov 13, 2013

Palo Alto's vocal art critics will soon have plenty to cheer, jeer, laugh and complain about thanks to the City Council's decision on Tuesday to greatly expand the city's public-art program.


Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, November 12, 2013, 11:26 PM

Comments (17)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 13, 2013 at 10:32 am

Anyone else think the first sentence in this article is just trolling for whiners?

I don't love every single piece of public art in this city, but I do enjoy enough of it to want to keep this program going. It does make the streets more interesting, especially if you are a pedestrian and can stop to study the individual pieces.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Maria
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 13, 2013 at 11:49 am

I am all for the more art concept - and perhaps we could reinstall the wooden Friends that used the sit facing Embarcadero and got put in storage a few years ago?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sylvia
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 13, 2013 at 12:33 pm

This is great news! Public art is wonderful. I particularly love murals; but, unlike a lot of people, I like "Go Mama". Art is so subjective. She makes me smile!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 13, 2013 at 12:48 pm

This shakedown by the publics arts commission (which is driving this turkey) is reflective of the mindset of our current city council. No doubt that it will also contribute to the mindset of the elites that PC zoning will be supported, because they like to make a statement about "art" (whatever that is)...and such "art" is considered to be a public benefit.

This turkey is a tax, period.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by artist
a resident of another community
on Nov 13, 2013 at 1:32 pm

Palo Alto and Stanford have one of the best collections of public sculpture in the world. It is one of the things that distinguishes this place and is an endeavor that ought to recognized as a high value to the community. Continuing to support it is a wise move by the City Council.

Oh, I forgot this is the Town Square forum. I'm reminded that at one point we had an opportunity to have a sculpture by Bruce Beasley at the end of California Avenue by the train tracks. He's only one of the most well-regarded contemporary living sculptors, with work in major collections around the world. "But a fountain would be nicer...."

Cue the "this is a waste of our money" haters.....


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 13, 2013 at 3:33 pm

>Cue the "this is a waste of our money" haters.....

Include me in this group. Would someone please provide a single example of PA public art "that distinguishes this place and is an endeavor that ought to recognized as a high value to the community"? There are couple of pieces that I rather like, most though are trivial, austere, cynical, etc. On balance, it is all a waste of taxpayer money.

Self-defined 'artists' should not be given access to the taxpayers' money. It is a train wreck. And it is a tax, period.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jeff
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 13, 2013 at 5:41 pm

If Palo Alto needs to become more beautiful/artistic or do more to remain that way establish zoning and rules that are always enforced. If you don't believe workable regulations can be agreed to, find a voting minority to pay for it... oh that's what the 1% for art is doing.

I agree with C Laughton that self-defined artists and art lovers should not be given access to the taxpayers' money.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Julie
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Nov 13, 2013 at 8:52 pm

Very exciting for Palo Alto. Important to make this City an interesting destination, beyond tech companies. Let tech bring them to town, but have the museums, art center and public art make them want to come back.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2013 at 10:40 pm

Of course the concept of a public art program is good. The problem in
Palo Alto is the execution. Similarly "design review" is good but look at the execution by the ARB. If The Cheesecake Factory on University Ave is
approved, do we have "design review"? Or 801 Alma? No. If we approve
"Go Mama" for California Ave do we have public art? No. We have something
else on California Ave. It does not qualify as public art or as artistic. The notion of "subjectivity" has boundaries and cannot be used for blanket approval of literally anything.

The assertion in the staff report that "Palo Alto wants to preserve its sense of its own history and destiny" is an absolute joke in the context of what has taken place here in the last ten years in terms of the destruction
of the City and its character.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by David
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2013 at 8:15 am

The continuation of 'Art in Inappropriate Places' will continue. Can the art commission at least limit the wierd art generated by LSD and other hallucinogens?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by anon
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 14, 2013 at 10:39 am

" ….create new ways to express ourselves as a community."

Hows about expressing ourselves by creating two beautiful landscaped traffic circles in College Terrace?

Certainly landscaping is defined as an art.

We were promised landscaped circles when we voted them in……

If this amounts to a Tax as other posters have suggested at least let the taxpayers have a say in how the funds are allocated!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2013 at 12:31 pm

@anon
The traffic circles on Everett Downtown have never been landscaped-
no tiles, nothing.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by anon
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 14, 2013 at 2:48 pm

Quote from article:

"According to the staff report, the new ordinance "may generate as much as $2 million for public art in the first three years of implementation."

!!! hope springs eternal for DTN/DTS traffic circles as well!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bart
a resident of Mayfield
on Nov 14, 2013 at 8:05 pm

Palo Alto has vocal art critics for a reason! When ever the Palo Alto Art Commission wanders about town, it periodically squats and leaves behind what it calls "public art".


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mr Hankey the xmas poo
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 14, 2013 at 9:27 pm

I am deeply offended that I am confused with "public art" in Palo Alto.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kelly SC
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Nov 21, 2013 at 9:20 am

As a professional fine artist since 1996, I find it incredibly crude and backwards that some here say to not give some of tax payers money towards this art program. Art is such an important part of who we are as humans. It helps to enrich and give life to a community. I do agree that the art chosen should be more beauty enhancing with some thought-provoking accents rather than chosen soley as any provocative catalyst. Take a look at Scottsdale, AZ's public art program to see this arrangement really being an enhancer.
I am an artist who has worked on several public works throughout the west. I see how it has enhanced the community. But I believe the work should be chosen not to "stand out" provocatively, but utilyzed to beautify and enhance our lives.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 21, 2013 at 2:38 pm

>As a professional fine artist since 1996, I find it incredibly crude and backwards that some here say to not give some of tax payers money towards this art program.

Really, Kelly? As a professional(and amateur) citizen in Palo Alto for decades, I find the notion of tax extortion to provide for so-called 'art', usually very unpopular with the 'nonprofessional artists' to be arrogant elitism.

Please name a few public art works in PA that you think "helps to enrich and give life to a (our) community". Moreover, why should such choices be up to the Arts Commission? An example is the fountain at the end of California Ave. Why is that not replaced with a nice and peaceful fountain, instead of being held hostage to an elitist choice?


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Local picks on 2015 Michelin Bib Gourmand list
By Elena Kadvany | 2 comments | 2,752 views

WUE makes out-of-state tuition more affordable
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 2 comments | 2,720 views

Ode to Brussels Sprout
By Laura Stec | 14 comments | 2,307 views

Go Giants! Next Stop: World Series!
By Chandrama Anderson | 1 comment | 1,754 views

In Defense of "Incivility"
By Douglas Moran | 18 comments | 1,691 views