Most of the time walking in a city I feel like people should look up more. I mean really up. The old storefronts, birds that huddle together in the same directions on a lamp post, and murals are treats only to be discovered by a slight change of perspective.
All over downtown you can be greeted by dragons, scared by monsters seemingly coming out of the mailbox, or meet a dog casting it’s shadow out of a bench. You will find a lot of whimsical creatures and robots too.
The city provides a map with all 20 stations of the shadow artwork. I walked around to find most of them and soon I was looking down and chasing shadows. The trick is to find the non moving objects in the city scape, like benches, water hydrants and lamp posts. Then Belanger’s art casts a shadow of these objects that transform the original and make us wonder, sometimes giggle, about the unique creatures. With a lot of humor and knowledge of the city Belanger made a valuable contribution to the public art scene.
It’s a great frugal adventure for little kids, too.
I love how devoted Palo Alto is to public art. Their latest installment will only last through this weekend code:ART.
Eight installations starting at City Hall are meant to involve the audience and inspire the dialogue of passerbys.
Advertised as a laboratory for urban experimentation the artists reimagine public spaces through interactive sound, light and motion installations.
The Murmur Wall, the first installation at City Hall, displays search terms from Palo Alto on multiple LED screens connected with lights. On the website: http://www.murmurwall.net/Whisper you can enter your own “whispers” that will be displayed instantly. This will be the only piece that will remain after June 3rd. Since it is LED lights I bet it is better viewed at night.
The sound installation of Tomo Saito is active twice a day at 2 pm and 6 pm. It is a concert made by the people that sit down in the chairs.
Across the street you can be part of the art making and let Palo Alto know what your dream city will look like.
My favorite piece is the Sensory Garden. In an alley next to Bell’s books the artists try to evoke all of your senses. You can touch moss, smell herbs, admire the chalk mural or rattle some cow bells.
My son passed the age of playgrounds, but when he was a toddler and even up to young teen he loved climbing and sliding.
So, whenever I see a cool playground I remember the good times.
The playground at Las Palmas Park in Sunnyvale is one of those fun, creative hang-out spots. There are two playgrounds right next to each other, one for toddlers, one for 4 – 12 year olds. And if you‘ve got a ball player, there is even a great grass field.
The bigger playground is surrounded by water and some interesting sculptures. In the drought they don’tfill the pond which makes the heads look even more fascinating, plus not having water around makes it safer for toddlers. If there is water collecting in the pond it is left-over from the rain we had recently.
Here is a review from Silicon Valley Toddler with a lot of risk management features:
The latest public art installation in Palo Alto is a willow weaved whiplash from artist Patrick Dougherty.
This is his second work, the first one, also made from natural materials was dismantled in June. This new one, called Whiplash, stands in front of the Palo Alto Art Center facing Embarcadero Rd. and is an impressive construction, with multiple rooms and windows, that lead you into a courtyard.
It is made out of only natural materials and a very enchanting place. The smell of the willow was very strong on my visit, maybe because it rained? This definitely added to the experience.
I can see little kids run through the crafted arches, or play hide and seek. (I’m sure kids will be even more inventive!)
If you still need to satisfy your art hunger you can check out the sculpture garden and the current exhibits in the Art Center.
Have you seen Patrick Dougherty and over 60 volunteers work on this for three weeks in November?
When you drive by Foothill Expressway in Los Altos I urge you to take a break and see the public art in Lincoln Park. This is a long strip of grass with multiple sculptures.
My favorite are the three doors. I am not sure what their official name is, I think it should be three doors. They open up, so I am sure if you have little kids this can entertain them for quite some time.
I also liked the Musical Gambol, a vibrant display that unfortunately does not make any noise.
This weekend, May 14 & 15 Lincoln Park will be the location for Fine Arts in the Park, from 10 to 5:30. The Rotary Club will present over 170 artists. Proceedings go to various socially significant projects.