A few years ago I wrote about The Pole Field at Byxbee Park in Palo Alto (Walk the trails between Bay and posts). Since my radius of wandering is limited right now, I recently went back there. Speaking of limited, parking is only allowed in the lots, no street parking. But this was no issue in the middle of the day on a weekday.
There were only a few people walking and running. The most interesting method of movement was presented by three motorized unicyclists in full gear on a hot day.
I did come for the art and the joy of exercise. Foraging Islands by Watershed Sculpture was installed in 2018 and is an ecological sculpture absolutely fitting for the Byxbee Park and its idea of intersecting nature and culture. With the help of a multitude of volunteers gathering nearby materials, they established a dam-like temporary public art installation, a perfect habitat for insects and rodents.
May is National Bike month. If I could name one thing that shelter-in-place has a positive impact on is the streets are emptier and therefore easier to ride a bike.
A lot of first time riders, with their parents are confident enough to ride on the streets these days. There are also multiple levels of bike trails around.
To spice things up you could challenge someone, friends or family, to an interesting goal. How about: Burn 6 tacos in a week? Or: Ride 100 miles in May. Record your trips and register with https://www.lovetoride.net/usa/signups/new, you even will have a chance to win attractive prizes, e.g. a new bike!
Suggestions on bike trails:
The San Francisco Bay Trail is a 500 miles walking and cycling path that spans all nine Bay Area counties.
The Bay Bridge Trail is a 4.4 mile round trip from Oakland to Yerba Buena Island over the Bay Bridge.
Week five for shelter-in-place for the Bay Area has me going a bit stir crazy and longing for some art. I do get my daily art fix from Google’s arts & culture app. I really like the art projector where you can really zoom in on a masterpiece, for example, Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring.
If you’d like to explore the local art scene without using up gas in your car (yeah we are really doing something for the climate now) here are some links to virtual tours.
While virtual tours cannot replace seeing artwork in person, kind of like looking at a cookbook doesn’t satisfy the need to eat, it helps in times when we are all housebound to get our minds off things.
It is vital these days to exercise. A lot of public parks and open space preserves have been closed off, due to the excessive use and therefore people not being able to keep the 6ft required distance.
We were lucky two weeks ago when my son and I decided to hike the Stanford Dish it was still open. As of April 3rd, they closed access to the Dish.
I have to confess I put the Stanford Dish hike in my 50 things to do in Stanford without ever being on the path. I am glad I did this hike before it got closed off. The path is concrete, which allows for wheelchairs and strollers, but keep in mind the alleviation changes dramatically – my health app said I climbed 22 floors that day!
I always wanted to do this 3.8 mile loop passing the old radio telescope visible from 280. I was surprised that there are actually two radio telescopes! We parked at the Stanford parking lot, which is free. Be sure not to park in the residential area, because they will ticket.
The Dish is (usually) open from sunrise to sunset. No dogs, accept service dogs, or bicycles are allowed.
Seeing Picasso is the title of an exquisite exhibit at the Pace Gallery in Palo Alto. I urge every art lover to drop by and see the collection.
Currently the windows are covered up at the Pace Gallery. Only the front door is announcing the opening hours. It feels like some mysterious, secretive place.
When you enter you are greeted by the friendly staff. If you like, you can borrow an iPad and a headset to enjoy an audio tour for a “chronological survey of Picasso” led by Alexander Nemerov.
The audio tour was fun and informative. The poetic explanations definitely point you in new directions while admiring the artwork.
My favorite painting was The Dead Casagemas (1901) which is considered to be the start of Picasso’s Blue Period. Casagemas, Picasso’s best friend killed himself; he obviously left Picasso in sorrow.
After seeing a huge Picasso exhibit once in Berlin I highly recommend taking your toddler. Mine, at the time, had a blast and sometimes a better access to the art.
I liked the timeline in the foyer, starting with Picasso’s birth (1881) till his death (1973). Picasso’s milestones are interspersed with inventions and other important events at that time, putting Picasso in the context of his generation.
Seeing Picasso will be shown till February 16th, 2020 at the Pace Gallery, 229 Hamilton Ave, Palo Alto. Admission is free.
You might find some public art objectionable. If part of the art is providing free Wi-Fi, will you still object?
Since December 2013 there is a Tesla statue providing free Wi-Fi in Palo Alto with a time capsule to be opened in 2043, 100 years after Tesla died.
A successful kickstarter campaign was held for the sculpture and free Wi-Fi. It also has it’s own website: https://www.teslastatue.com/ and can be counted as a true Silicon Valley experience.You can also support this artwork and the Wi-Fi by buying a small replica on Amazon (this is the final year of sale).
Dorian Porter of Northern Imagination LLC ran this successful campaign and Harold Hohbach a landowner provides a place in front of one of his office buildings, 260 Sheridan Ave, Palo Alto.
Yes, your local coffee shop provides Wi-Fi, but I still love the art created by Terry Geyer.
Temporarily, the Palo Alto Junior Museum is at Cubberly Community Center. Their old site is being renovated and expected to be ready in the summer of 2020. In the front of the Center you can see the plans they have – it looks pretty cool – e.g. a tree house!
Because of the limited space all the larger animals like bobcats and raccoons, are in the back. I was told that they do special events for members where they bring some of them out. Membership starts at $100 and relieves you of the $5 suggested donation.
What you can see is a pretty cool insect exhibit, alive and dead. The sunburst diving beetles for example are constantly diving down in their little aquarium. I did not hear the hissing roaches hiss, but you can still marvel at their size. All the exhibits are kids height.
In the middle of the room is a spider web big enough to entertain toddlers for a while. There are also some life spiders, like a tarantula and a black widow you can look at.
Reggie, the kingsnake, decorated his mantuary with some old skin. Enough rats to learn counting are next door to Reggie.
The Clean Green Energy Machines teach children about renewable energy. These machines are hands-on, start-to-bubble-and-spit types, which makes it fun to look at and learn.
The Junior Museum is closed on Monday, on Tuesdays to Saturdays open from 10 am – 5 pm, and Sundays from 1 pm to 4 pm.
When it comes to animal walks what creature do you resemble?
The halls feel like a school with rooms on each side. There is a roof, but it is not enclosed. This brings some nice welcome shade in this heat. I wander the halls trying to find the Cubberly Project – an art installation depicting the diversity of this community center in Palo Alto.
On the walls around the community center are photos by Martha Sakellariou; writer Jennifer Lee supplied the content. The exhibit is the result of three weeks of gathering information about the people you might meet around this campus.
I can feel the diversity just by wandering the halls. I hear kids repeating a teacher’s word in, I believe, Chinese. There is a group of children running down the hall. Dance classes and karate are being offered. This all shows the great mix of community.
Martha Sakellariou captures this in a fantastic way. In The sixteen Avenidas, 16 women are making flower arrangements. These women vary in age and ethnicity and you can see them enjoying their tasks and each other in a photo mural in the courtyard.
The Cubberly hands is a collage of different hands and activities involving hands. Again these images show the diversity and speak without words about the inclusion of different backgrounds and habits.
I enjoyed the Cubberly Project and hope this will make us all want to learn more about each other. All summer you can see the installation at the Cubberley Community Center in Palo Alto. There is an audio installment that will play some of the interviews until June 21st, 2019, Monday – Friday 5 pm to 7 pm, and weekends from 11 am to 1 pm.
After ‘El Nino’ there is usually a superbloom. Southern California has more of these overgrown wildflower spots than we in the Bay Area. I was wondering if succulents and cacti also experience a superbloom right now. The answer is ‘Yes!’
The Arizona Cactus Garden in Stanford is my favorite hidden gem. Once there, you’ll be transported to a desert like area, with lizards showing you the way. There are huge plants with a phallic like bloom that easily spans 10 feet and cute little ground covers.
A fuzzy cactus looks like a face with its little pink flowers. Succulents exude the most interesting flowers and colors.
You can find the Arizona Garden next to the Mausoleum on the Stanford campus.
I admired the six sculptures between the Palo Alto library and the Art Center during the daylight. Just recently I learned that these bulby metal objects with the stanced out metal messages glow in the dark. The design even allows you to change the color by pressing a button.
Joe O’Connell of Creative Machines, an artist collective that specializes in interactive exhibits and artworks, and Blessing Hancock created Brilliance. Like my experience with Brilliance, their goal is to create beautiful objects that evolve into a deeper meaning and use.
The phrases in multiple languages that you can see on the sculptures got collected from the community. The writings reflect the diversity of Palo Alto and it is fitting for the space between the library and art center to have a community engaged art collection.
To dive deeper into the experience you can now connect with STQRY an app that gives you background information.
I hope your New Year will be a brilliant enlightenment. Wishing everyone a great start into 2019!