Gain insight into the Peninsula art scene

Gain insight into the Peninsula art scene

Second floor hallway of the artist studios at the Peninsula Museum of ArtI am always open for free art museums. Burlingame has the Peninsula Museum of Art. Turning right instead of taking the museum entrance you can also check out the artist studios. In some of the studios you can see creativity working, but I did not want to interrupt.  

The hallways are used as exhibit space. On two floors you can see everything from paintings to jewelry, over furnishing, millinery and sculptures. These hallways are already a glimpse in the artistic world of the Peninsula. First floor hallway of the artist studios at the Peninsula Museum of Art, Burlingame

The museum currently hosts “Art Between the Lines” an exhibit from the San Francisco Chapter of the California Art Club. Until July 8th, 2018, 65 artists show a wide range of mediums: oil, watercolor, acrylic, pastel and sculptures.

“Seeking Story” by Deborah Rumer at the Peninsula Museum of Art, BurlingameAnother exhibit shows “Seeking Story” by Deborah Rumer, until July 29, 2018. These pieces really touched me. Recycled books that through paint and found objects tell a new story. Each unique piece draws you in and in a snap of a moment your imagination creates a story around the artwork.

The museum is free but has a donation box. Also if you purchase something from the gift shop it helps the museum and the artist.

Do you know Peninsula art?

 

Help in the garden

Help in the garden

Fava beans from the Forge Garden, Santa ClaraGardening is always the top tip of every happiness blog. If you don’t have the opportunity to work in your own garden you can volunteer at the Forge Garden, which is part of the Santa Clara University. Volunteer hours are Wednesdays 1 pm – 4:30 pm or Fridays 9 am – 11 am, just drop in. You should be prepared to get your cloth dirty, wear sturdy shoes and bring water and sunscreen. The monthly Forge Fridays Cooking in the Garden is designed to bring the community together by harvesting, cooking and eating together. Check out their website on all upcoming events. Chicken coop at the Forge Garden, Santa Clara

They also let you wander around the grounds Monday – Friday 9 am to 5 pm. Check out what’s growing, say ‘hi’ to the chickens, admire the beehives and the aquaponic system. The farm stand is open on Fridays between 11:30 and 1:30.

If you like to learn more about gardening you can attend one of their workshops. Up front you can find a book and seed exchange.

What is on top of your happiness list?

 

Combine admiring the arts and gardens

Combine admiring the arts and gardens

Entrance to the Allied Arts GuildThe roses are in bloom at the Allied Arts Guild . This place has an overabundance of tranquility. The Allied Arts Guild is a little gem in Menlo Park. Not only are the stunning gardens a reason to come here, they also host a group of artists. There are unique shopping opportunities and a cafe.

For your gift shopping needs, I would suggest checking out the artisan shop. It’s a mixture of jewelry, handmade gift items, and high quality donated treasures. Proceeds go to the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford.

Lunch and coffee is served at the Wisteria Cafe. A great place to meet with friends or relax with a drink.

The barn at Allied Arts Guild, Menlo ParkAnd do make it to the back of the property. The wood shop doesn’t sell furniture, but they will restore your best pieces. The smell of dust, wood and polisher will transport you to a rustical heaven.   

To virtual explore the Allied Arts Guild check out their website for an interactive map.

Have you been to the Allied Arts Guild?

 

Match some patterns at the Quilt and Textile Museum

Match some patterns at the Quilt and Textile Museum

A museum of quilts sounds, at first glance, not too exciting. In fact it sounded a bit dusty to me. But I was more than once surprised at the diversity of the items on display at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles.

Vien Le Wood, printed hair samplesThe current exhibits can be viewed until April 15th, 2018. The first exhibit opens with a short video about hair. (See, unexpected.)

In the video we see women getting patterns screen printed with dye onto their hair. Examples of printed hair are also on display.

Chuck Stolarek takes us on a mind journey, seeing astonishing objects fabricated into a time consuming medium. I particularly liked the ‘shirtains’. Shirtains by Chuck Stolarek

Paul J. Smith, a Director Emeritus of the Museum of Arts and Design in NY, is showcasing his collection for the first time. Here you see textiles from around the world. The arrangements are interesting, and you learn about cultural aspects of patterns and textiles.

Without a Net by Susan Else at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and TextilesMy favorite exhibit was Susan Else’s “Without A Net”. A colorful installation about the circus using textiles, sound and motion. The circus theme is used as a vehicle to twist your mind. An elephant on a unicycle on a rope starts off the show. A view behind the scene after dark has a tiger throwing darts at someone. The horses riding on the people in the merry-go-round are a perfect ending of the upside down.

The open studio for the two artists in residence, Michelle Wilson and Anne Beck, ‘The Rhinoceros project’ has ended March 24th and as an unfortunate coincidence, Sudan, one of the last three white rhinos has died on March 20th, 2018. I enjoyed helping stitch the art for the Rhinoceros Project and meeting Michelle.

If this all tickled your creative mind and you are up for an hands-on approach, you might find some inspiration in the gift shop.

The museum is open Wednesday to Sunday (W-F 11am – 4pm, Sat & Sun 11am – 3pm). General admission is $8, seniors and students $6.50 and children under 12 are free.

Have you been to the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles?

 

Related Article:

BBC: Northern White Rhino: Last male Sudan dies in Kenia

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-43468066

Support your local bookstore

Support your local bookstore

Bookstores are still a treat for me. There is something special about being able to browse, touch and smell the books. It’s rare that I can resist and not buy anything.

Kepler's Books & Magazines, Menlo Park, store windowA bookstore with a remarkable history can be found in Menlo Park. Kepler’s Books and Magazines, founded in 1955, was the epicenter of counterculture in the ‘60s and ‘70s. For founder Roy Kepler, the exchange and flow of ideas was part of his business. A lot of students and faculty from the nearby Stanford University were patrons and appreciated the idea exchanging approach. In-store concerts from the Grateful Death to Joan Baez made the store popular. But when Kepler embraced paperbacks as an economical vehicle to bring ideas to the masses, it was genius.

 

You can still feel the progressive energy. On my recent visit I overheard an elderly woman who found a book, reading the title: “We Were Eight Years In Power – An American Tragedy. “ And asked her friend ‘Do you think they mean Reagan?’ and then realizes: “Oh, they mean Obama.” Kepler's Books & Magazines, Menlo Park

A staff person asked me if she can help me find anything. I declined ‘I’m just taking it all in’ I replied with a smile.

A few more browses down the aisle, I overheard a man dictating his findings about soccer books including all commas and question marks into his phone.

 

To compete with online stores, Kepler’s concept of a bookstore expanded and has many interesting events to offer, from speaker series to author lectures. The Kepler’s 2020 Project continues to provide an outstanding bookstore and has developed a community meeting space, with events. Let’s hope they prevail.  

 

Is there an independent bookstore near you?

 

Additional Reading:

SFGate: Kepler’s turns another page

https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Kepler-s-turns-another-page-After-50-years-the-2671216.php#photo-2144248

Washington Post: How to save an indie bookstore

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/arts-post/post/how-to-save-an-indie-bookstore-day-1/2012/07/27/gJQAwMN0DX_blog.html?utm_term=.debf6f000da1

 

Feel the spring Japanese style

Feel the spring Japanese style

There are quite a few Japanese Gardens in the Bay Area. If you expect to see a large amount of cherry blossoms you are misdirected, as I was.

As one gardener from the San Mateo Japanese Garden told me: “Cherry trees don’t do to well in the Bay Area.” They do have a few, but it is not their main focus.

Magnolias in the Japanese Garden in San MateoJapanese Gardens are all about local plants arranged in a Japanese aesthetic, giving you tranquility. Most of them have tea rooms  and a tea ceremony may be offered, a waterfall, and a lake.

The San Mateo Japanese Tea Garden is a great place to contemplate and see what is blooming in the season. Entrance to the Japanese Garden in San Mateo

Currently there are magnolias, with their vibrant reds and pinks, in bloom. Watch for trees that have been shaped to grow a certain way, or bonsais, that have been cropped to appear miniature.

Which is your favorite Japanese Garden?

Buy machine created artwork

Buy machine created artwork

Have a unique piece of art created by a machine.

Starting instructions for the artwork forgeFor 4 quarters you can get your very own art piece. In front of City Hall at King Plaza in Palo Alto stands the Artwork Forge. Artist Toby Atticus Fraley created this machine, looking like a retro robot, that makes art.

You begin with inserting 4 quarters in slots, pushing the money into the machine and pressing two red buttons at the same time. When you walk around to the painting station the machine will determine your location and based on this, comes up with a trending artwork.

Artwork Forge painting stationNext at the painting station you can watch canvases being transported to the color ink jets. You can’t see your picture yet, but when the painting station closes you should go around the corner to the drying station. A towel is hanging there to remove paint from impatient hands. If you wait for the three steps from drying, to almost dry, to dry, you’ll be sure to have a dried picture when you take it out of the slot.

Art created by the Artwork ForgeI loved the process and the details that played with the audience. Come on, push the two red buttons at the exact same time!

Who is to say if this is art?

The question arises “What is art?” The last artist I talked to, a Chinese man living in Germany, had a plain answer: ‘Whatever sells.” For $1 each I think I got a good deal and a fun surprise.

Until April, 2018 you can watch your artwork being created on the spot at King Plaza in Palo Alto. This is part ot the Play! exhibit by the Palo Alto Arts Center. I wrote about it in Play! with art.

Have you used the Artwork Forge?

 

Stroll into the past

Stroll into the past

To really understand something you should know it’s history. On my recent exploration through Santa Clara I came across a few opportunities to learn the city’s history.

The first one is the Stroll Into The Past, a seven station, self-guided tour behind City Hall. The stations start with the Ohlone, and move to the Mission and to the settlers that came, to being the center of the tech evolution. There is a good overview, and a lot of reading.

Santa Clara Brewery, 1890If you prefer a more visual approach, stroll over to City Hall and check out the photographs that are displayed in the hallway. Here, I learned that Santa Clara was once the home of one of the largest tanneries in the world.

To complete the historic overview I recommend the walking tour of historic buildings. The city of Santa Clara put out a map: (http://missioncity.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapTour/index.html?appid=c3261a39356546e38ec3445f953fbe1b) , it has a lot of information about the houses and their architecture. On rare occasions, the Santa Clara Historic Home Tour is offered and gives you a glimpse into the houses. Jamison-Brown House, Santa Clara

Finally you can arrange a visit to the Harris-Lass House Museum, the last farm site in Santa Clara, and number 11 on your walking tour. This place is only open by appointment (408-249-7905, leave a message).

Where do you stroll into the past?

Stand up with art

Stand up with art

Before taking a knee for the national anthem, raising a fist was showing protest. At the Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City in 1968, two black athletes, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, protested by showing a black gloved fist on the podest while receiving their first and third place medals.

The feet of John Carlos with black socks The two U.S. athletes staged a protest not only by their black gloves, but were shoeless, wearing only black socks, to represent black poverty. Smith’s black scarf is a symbol of black pride and Carlos unzipping his jacket stands for the solidarity with black workers.

In 2005, the SJSU honored the former students Smith and Carlos, with a statue depicting their protest. Victory Salute by artist Rigo 23 leaves the second place empty because the Australian Peter Norman wanted people to be able to stand in his place. There is a plaque on the second place reading ‘Fellow athlete Australian Peter Norman stood here in solidarity. Take a Stand’.

Benny O'Hara designed this poster protesting TrumpTo continue the art of protest the Dr. Martin Luther King Junior Library, not a five minute walk away, has an exhibit of the same name. Here you can look at protest posters from the 1970’s, opposition the Vietnam War, racism or pollution. The collection belongs to the San Jose Peace and Justice Center and is on display on the 4th floor of the library until March 30th, 2018.

There are example of different styles of poster art and the evolution it went through in this time period.

Are you a supporter of protest art?

 

Resources:

BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/october/17/newsid_3535000/3535348.stm)

Wikipedia

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1968_Olympics_Black_Power_salute)

 

Uncover a museum and cemetery

Uncover a museum and cemetery

Sometimes you expect something, but then it turns out to be something totally different!

The Agnews Historic Cemetery and Museum in Santa Clara sounded to me like a very cool burial ground with interesting tombstones and I thought the museum would be related to that.

When you enter you see to your right a gated grass field, that is probably the size of half a soccer field. I later learned this to be the burial ground for 600 people. To the left in a small cottage building is the museum. Upon entering I was greeted by Pat, a volunteer at the museum and former employee of the Agnews State Mental Hospital, who helped me uncover the mystery of this institution.

Pharmacy at the Agnews Museum in Santa ClaraAgnews, it turns out, was the largest hospital for the mentally ill in the Bay Area during the Gold Rush, with over 1,200 patients at a time. Back in those days there was no industry near and they had to be self-sufficient. The patients worked to earn their stay in the hospital’s own cannery, or they made mattresses or tended to the pigs and chicken. This place was almost like a little village with a pharmacy and their own fire station.

 

Unfortunately the 1906 earthquake destroyed a lot of the buildings, including the prominent clock tower and was responsible for the loss of many lives at the hospital. In fact this was the largest tragedy of that quake which killed more than 100 people. When they rebuilt Agnews it was considered the most progressive institution in the 20th century, as they established a ‘cheerful’ place.

In 1971 the Laterman Act transferred mental health programs to local communities and as an outcome of this the state closed many hospitals, including Agnews.

In the late 1990’s, the area got bought by Sun Microsystems. Sun had to keep some of the historic buildings and the cemetery and park for public use.

Agnews Historic Park, Santa ClaraToday Oracle owns the land; the restored clocktower building is now a center for the developmentally disabled. The park in front of the buildings is a nice quiet space and in a pavillion you can read about its former glory.  

The Agnews Historic Museum and Cemetery is only open on Fridays from 10 am – 2 pm, no admission.

Have you ever heard about the Agnews?