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A&E Digest: Stanford unveils McMurtry Building and more

Recent A&E news

In recent arts news, Stanford has unveiled the new home of the Department of Art and Art History -- the McMurtry Building -- while both the Palo Alto Art Center and Art in Action have received significant grants for their work in arts and education.

A NEW HOME FOR ART ... After more than two years of construction, Stanford University has unveiled the new home of the Department of Art and Art History: the McMurtry Building. Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the distinctive modernist building had its official dedication ceremony on Oct. 7, and is now open for business. Located at 355 Roth Way, the 96,000 square-foot-space houses programs in art history, art practice, design, film and media studies and documentary video in addition to the Art and Architecture Library, art studios, film editing rooms and exhibition spaces. Members of the public can enjoy the building's roof garden, public gallery and cafe. With the opening of the McMurtry Building, the new Stanford Arts District is officially complete, encompassing the historic Cantor Arts Center (originally built in 1894, renovated and reopened in 1999) as well as newer buildings, including Bing Concert Hall (which opened in 2013) and the Anderson Collection (which was completed in 2014).

INTERACTIVE ART COMES TO PALO ALTO ... How can children and families best learn to appreciate art together? Maybe a discovery kit would help. So thought leaders at the Palo Alto Art Center when they applied for a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to offer interactive art experiences to visitors. The Art Center has been awarded $25,000 to develop and test such a kit, which would then become a permanent feature of the exhibition spaces. The Center will contract with author and experiential educator Rachelle Doorley to help develop the discovery kit before testing it out with a range of families.

MORE ART IN TITLE 1 SCHOOLS ... Menlo Park-based nonprofit Art in Action has been awarded nearly $75,000 in grants to expand its art education programs to students in East Palo Alto, Redwood City and other Bay Area school districts that lack the resources to provide visual arts programs. The organization will also use a portion of the funds to hire coordinators to work closely with classroom teachers, parents and administrators. Due to the new funding, more than 2,500 students in 12 schools will have art classes in the 2015-2016 school year. Funds for these grants come from the Palo Alto Community Fund, the Nancy Buck Ransom Foundation, the Leo M. Shortino Family Foundation, the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund and the Adobe Foundation.

NEW LEADER FOR SCHOLA ... Longtime Mountain View choral group Schola Cantorum welcomed a new board chair last month. Melanie Ercoli has taken the helm at the nonprofit arts organization, which is entering is 52nd season. A Bay Area resident since 1989 and a member of Schola since 1990, Ercoli comes to the role with a deep background in project management and sales as well as in music. Her vision for the future includes continued expansion and striking a balance between tradition and contemporary relevance.

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