In the latest Around Town column, stories about students who have created a virtual replica of Ohlone Elementary School, a native Palo Altan nominated for a Daytime Emmy and how the city is reusing material from a public art project recently taken down.
OHLONE TOGETHER ... Most parents tend to limit how much time their children spend playing video games, but for Kenneth and Rebecca Lui, the opposite couldn't be more true. Their 11-year-old son, Conrad, merged his love for Minecraft and knowledge of Ohlone Elementary School into "MineOhlone2020," a virtual adaptation of the campus where he has reported to class for the past six years until students were ordered to stay at home in March. He was inspired by "Blockeley," a project by students at the University of California at Berkeley who reconstructed their campus on Minecraft. Conrad teamed up with classmates Noah Cheng, Charlotte Liu, Zeke Phillips and Kai Bunger-Tang to recreate their school by utilizing building materials, known in the game as blocks, over the course of three weeks. They brought every campus detail to life based on pictures, Google Maps, Google Earth and their recollections. The group also consulted over Zoom with their teacher, Yineng Lu, who offered advice as they tackled the project, which was initially hosted on the family's private server, then transferred to a public server to allow the rest of Lui's class to view the project at their end-of-the-year party online. While "MineOhlone" is as close the students can get to "being" on campus while staying apart, nothing can replace spending time together in person. "I miss being able to play catch with my friends, being able to learn with them," Conrad said. Minecraft users interested in viewing the project, which will be online through the summer, can do so through the Minecraft Java edition program with the address mineohlone.mchost.pro. View a video of the project here:
EMMY CONTENDER ... Jon Kinyon's love for film along with his artistic family tree helped him develop his creativity from a young age while growing up in Palo Alto. His grandfather Chapin Kinyon was a vaudeville performer in Minnesota and his great-uncle, Dan Glass, was an animator at New York City's Fleischer Studios, where he worked on Bimbo, the black-and-white dog featured in the "Betty Boop" cartoon series, and Popeye, among other characters, according to Jon Kinyon's WordPress blog. Those influences helped form his career as a film and TV editor for several notable projects, including" SpongeBob SquarePants", "The Fairly OddParents" and "Avatar: The Last Airbender." His work as supervising picture editor on "Pinky Malinky," an animated show made for Netflix and Nickelodeon about a hot dog boy, has earned him (and four other editors) a Daytime Emmy Awards nomination for Outstanding Editing for an Animated Program. "Ironically, it comes as I turn down gigs so that I can concentrate full-time on finishing my first book. Ain't life strange?" he said on Twitter. Kinyon will find out if the show will rise above the four other contenders at the awards show on June 26.
GONE, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN ... The woven willow branches that have captured the attention of Palo Alto Art Center visitors on Embarcadero Road since late 2016 is no more. Crews collapsed "Whiplash," a temporary installation by artist Patrick Dougherty, last week and removed it on June 8, the city's Public Art Program said on Instagram. The project was assembled with assistance from community volunteers and a crowdfunding campaign that netted $15,000. "It is art that transforms the landscape, but also respects the environment," Art Center Director Karen Kienzle said in a 2016 press release. The outdoor installation may be gone, but pieces of the project will stay with the city. Whiplash's wood chips will be used for landscaping work throughout Palo Alto. The art program plans to bring a new project to the space in the future.