All the wall calendars owned by all the employees of the Palo Alto Art Center likely have one thing in common: a big circle around Oct. 6.
The center Wednesday, June 20, announced the date for its grand re-opening after $7.9 million worth of renovations. A public celebration is being planned from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 6, at 1313 Newell Road, to show off the revamped gallery spaces, new children's wing and gallery shop, redesigned entry lounge and fancy new landscaping. Why, people may even come to see the new ventilation systems.
In a press release, center director Karen Kienzle called the renovation project "landmark," and noted that it is scheduled to wrap up "on time and on budget." Funding came from the City of Palo Alto, the art center's foundation, and from private, corporate and other government donors.
Activities planned for opening day include: free art activities for children and adults, live music and dance, refreshments, art demos and a ribbon-cutting.
After a year and a half of being closed, the center should also be raring to display its new exhibitions. The kick-off show in the souped-up center will be "Community Creates," a collection of eight art installations done by eight Bay Area artists together with the public.
Kathy Aoki is working with local teens to develop "TeenScapes," which looks at teens' daily lives through installation and painting. Palo Alto photographer Angela Buenning Filo has been gathering people's photos and six-word stories inspired by their favorite trees in the city, and Lava Thomas is creating portraits of veterans at the Palo Alto Veterans Affairs Hospital.
Paz de la Calzada's sculptural installation will be made of sculpted ferns that seem to be growing from a gallery wall; the public will help craft them from fabric and wire. Carlos Ramirez will draw on the history of Silicon Valley and of Mesoamerica in his ceramic installation, for which the public will assist in making tiles.
Susan O'Malley will assemble "Palo Alto's collective wisdom" for her woodblock-text project "Community Advice," and Weston Teruya will team up with residents to make paper models of items that are important to them.
Lastly, as a soundtrack to the refreshed gallery space, Mel Day and Jeanne C. Finley are creating a sound installation with a blend of singing voices: members of the a cappella Threshold Choir and residents of Palo Alto's Lytton Gardens senior community.
Meanwhile, the newly overhauled art center will also display a new logo, the result of a competition that drew 204 entries. The winning logo was designed by Colleen Sullivan, an artist at Cubberley Studios in Palo Alto.
The center's renovation is being done by the San Francisco architecture firm Mark Cavagnero Associates, which also worked on the Community School of Music and Arts in Mountain View.
For more about the center and its programs, go to cityofpaloalto.org/artcenter.