This week, check out "Brilliance," a permanent, site-specific public art installation on the grounds of the Palo Alto Art Center; Palo Alto's Stephen Waarts performing with the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra; and "Small Works Holiday Exhibition" at the Pacific Art League.
Maybe you've noticed them as you've driven down Newell Road at night: a series of egg- and amoeba-shaped sculptures nestled in the grass, glowing brightly and casting their reflections into the trees. Together, they make up "Brilliance," a permanent, site-specific public art installation on the grounds of the Palo Alto Art Center. Creators Joe O'Connell and Blessing Hancock crafted the six lantern-like metal sculptures, which are lit from within by colored LED lights and change colors at the press of a button. The sculptures feature text from proverbs in many languages; the phrases were gathered from Palo Alto community members and are meant to reflect the linguistic and cultural diversity of the region. Check out the installation at close range for a more interactive experience, or add "Brilliance" to your tour of Christmas lights. The ongoing installation is located in the Plaza between Palo Alto Art Center and the new Rinconada Library, on Newell Road. To learn more about the project, go to tinyurl.com/qahe9su.
SF Chamber Orchestra
Every year, the International Menuhin Competition names one young virtuoso violinist as the best in the world. In 2014, the winner of the world's most prominent violin competition for musicians under age 22 was Palo Alto's own 18-year-old Stephen Waarts. On Jan. 1, Waarts will perform with the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra in a free public concert in Palo Alto. On the program are Felix Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's overture to "Così fan tutte" and Sergei Prokofiev's Symphony No. 1 in D major, Op. 25, otherwise known as his "Classical Symphony." SFCO music director Benjamin Simon will conduct. The concert will take place on Thursday, Jan. 1, at 3 p.m. at Palo Alto's First United Methodist Church, 625 Hamilton Ave. SFCO members are invited to arrive up to one hour early; doors open to non-members 45 minutes before the show. There is no admission charge. To learn more about the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, go to thesfco.org or call 415-692-3367. For more on Waarts, go to stephenwaarts.com.
'Small Works' and 'Winter Wonder'
The last days of 2014 are also the last chance to catch an annual holiday tradition in the Palo Alto arts community. The "Small Works Holiday Exhibition" is on display at the Pacific Art League now through Jan. 1. The show consists of more than 100 works in a variety of media, none of which measures more than 10 inches. Also on display will be "Winter Wonder," a group show of seasonally themed works of art juried by Pacific Art League curator Lisa Ellsworth, as well as a solo exhibition of abstract acrylic paintings by Mexican-born artist Isaias Sandoval. All three shows are free and open to the public. And if finding a creative outlet is among your New Year's resolutions, make sure to check out PAL's winter and spring catalogue of workshops and classes, featuring everything from wire mesh sculpting to encaustics, Japanese-style woodblock printing, and much more. The Pacific Art League is located at 668 Ramona St., Palo Alto. For more information, go to pacificartleague.org or call 650-321-3891.