After more than a year of construction, the renovated Palo Alto Art Center reopened on Saturday, Oct. 6, with a free public open house from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
New exhibitions were on display, while art activities, live music and dance performances were held at the center at 1313 Newell Road in Palo Alto.
The made-over main gallery at the center is packed to the rafters -- with light. For decades, curators and visitors sighed at the low ceiling. Art doesn't like feeling cramped.
Now, the ceiling has been raised up to the building's rafters, which are newly painted white to better accentuate exhibitions.
This is the first major renovation for the building, which was built as Palo Alto's City Hall. The upgrade was financed by a public/private partnership between the city and the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation, a nonprofit.
The building was designed by Palo Alto architect Leslie Nichols. When it opened in 1953, newspapers described the grouted-brick building with shake roofs as "Ranchero style" and "country club," according to an art-center flier. Later, City Hall moved downtown, and the building was turned into a cultural center in 1971.
Video by Veronica Weber/Palo Alto Online.