Djerassi Resident Artists Program



Artful Harvest

Arts Rendezvous

Annual Open House

Where Art Originates


Where Art Originates

Free of charge, reservations not required

Three panel discussions:
Mutual Gifts: Saying Yes to Trust – Wednesday, November 14, 2012 – 7:00 pm
Is the Medium the Message? – Wednesday, January 16, 2013 – 7:00 pm
Representing Community – Friday, April 12, 2013 – 7:00 pm

at the Palo Alto Art Center
1313 Newell Road
Palo Alto, CA  94303

PALO ALTO, CA  — Join us for series of lively discussions showcasing artistic inspiration and process. Featuring artists included in Community Creates along with their community collaborators, these talks provide an insider’s perspective into the underlying motivation to create and the materials used in the process.

Wednesday, November 14, 7pm
Mutual Gifts: Saying Yes to Trust
In this behind-the-scenes perspective on the Community Creates exhibition, learn what happens when a museum places trust in artists, and artists in turn place trust in community, in order to create an engaging and community-centered exhibition. What are the opportunities for the community, the museum, and the participating artists, and what are the risks? Explore these compelling ideas with Palo Alto Art Center staff and participation artists and community members.

Participating Artists
Artist and educator Kathy Aoki will create TeenScapes, an art installation that explores the daily life of teens through the artistic mediums of painting and installation. Working closely with local teens, Aoki will develop environments that speak to their physical and emotional surroundings. The resulting imagery would be viewed through an inviting—but also mysterious—peep-hole format that will enhance the visual intensity of the scenes. Kathy Aoki’s artwork frequently addresses gender issues and the role the media plays in the lives of girls. Aoki received her B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley and her M.F.A. in printmaking from Washington University in St. Louis. Her work has been exhibited widely in group and solo exhibitions at venues such as the San Jose Museum of Art, Swarm Gallery in Oakland, and the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco. She is currently an Associate Professor of Studio Art at Santa Clara University.

Palo Alto-based photographer Angela Buenning Filo’s The Palo Alto Forest asks the community to consider the question: How do the trees that surround us impact our lives? The project began with an open call to community members to photograph and write a six-word story about a tree in Palo Alto that is meaningful to them. With approximately 300 photos and stories collected, the resulting artwork will allow viewers to experience the Palo Alto canopy in a community context. Since 2000, Buenning Filo has been creating photographic documentations of the changing Silicon Valley landscape, which have been exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the San Jose Museum of Art, and through the public art program at the San Jose International Airport. She has also turned her camera on Bangalore, India, focused on the way the global technology boom has transformed the landscape there. She received her B.A. in human biology from Stanford University and her master’s degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.

Lava Thomas and Bay Area veterans will co-create contemporary portraits that explore how the war experience has shaped the veterans' image of themselves. Utilizing interviews, photographs, video and veteran's written descriptions as source material for drawings and paintings, Thomas will also highlight the role that health professionals at the VA Hospital in Menlo Park have played in restoring veterans' lives. Berkeley-based Lava Thomas works in a variety of media to explore diverse approaches to the genres of portraiture and self-portraiture. She received her BFA from California College of the Arts and studied at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Art Practice. Her work has been exhibited at venues such as the International Print Center in New York, the California African-American Museum in Los Angeles, the Riverside Art Museum and the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art.

Wednesday, January 16, 7pm
Is the Medium the Message?
Learn unique insights into the materials that artists use to create their work. Community Creates artists working in a diverse range of media—from traditional techniques such as printmaking, photography, and sculpture to new media, performance, and installation—will share the role that materials play in their work, and the challenges and benefits of engaging community members with those materials.

Participating Artists
Paz de la Calzada will create an engaging sculptural installation featuring plant-like sculptures that appear to be growing directly out of the gallery wall. The sculpted ferns will be crafted by community members out of wire, glue, and patterned fabrics sourced from the community. Over the course of the exhibition, this artificial fern garden will continue to grow and expand, showcasing the relationship between humans and the natural and artificial world, as well as the role patterns play in nature and textiles. San Francisco-based de la Calzada finds inspiration in the proximity of nature to California cities and her work often incorporates elements of the urban, suburban, and natural world. She received her B.F.A. from the University of Salamanca, Spain, and her M.F.A. from UNAM, Mexico City. Her work has been exhibited in the Bay Area, Spain, and Mexico, including a recent projection in San Francisco at the Luggage Store.

Weston Teruya will work with the community to explore the history and future of Palo Alto, by working with the public to create paper models of objects significant to them. The resulting installation will recall elements of our built environment, encouraging new perspectives on our surroundings, as well as embedded social interactions and histories. Weston Teruya’s work has been fueled by the interest in the way social interactions shape our built environment and the narratives and histories hidden within it. He received his B. A. from Pomona College, his M.F.A. in Painting and Drawing and his M.A. in Visual and Critical Studies from the California College of the Arts. His work has been featured in solo exhibitions at Intersection for the Arts in San Francisco and Pro Arts in Oakland and was recently included in Bay Area Now 6 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

Anthony Discenza will create an installation of approximately two-dozen aluminum street signs that will be placed throughout the grounds of the Palo Alto Art Center. Source material for the signs will be culled from responses to the question: “Please describe, in one sentence, what someone visiting here 100 years from now will be seeing” posed to the Palo Alto Art Center community. By using the ubiquitous vernacular of street signage, the work will function as both a humorous and ominous cross section of our hopes and dream for the future. Anthony Discenza has a graduate degree in film and video from California College of the Art and an undergraduate degree in studio art from Wesleyan University. His work is directed by a preoccupation with interrupting the flow of information in various formats, primary in video, but also in other media such as computer-generated sound, text, and imagery. His video work has been screened widely nationally and internationally.

Friday, April 12, 7pm
Representing Community
Popular culture, nature in the urban and suburban environment, the role of technology in enhancing and inhibiting our lives, the power of objects to signify identity—the installations in Community Creates explore a broad range of timely issues. What do these installations, the artists, and their community collaboratorstell us about who we are, and who we want to be as a community?

Participating Artists
Palo Alto-based interdisciplinary artist Mel Day and Jeanne C. Finley will present a two-channel media-and surround-sound installation that explores communal, contemplative, and transitional experiences through the effects of light, sound, sight, and imagination. Threshold brings together voices of members of the Threshold Choir—an a capella group trained to sing at bedside for patients in hospice and palliative care—with voices from residents at Palo Alto’s Lytton Garden’s Senior Community. Jonathan Abel, Consulting Professor, and Michael Wilson, a graduate student at Stanford’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, processes the singer’s recorded voices to simulate the reverberant quality of a performance in Stanford’s Memorial Church. Through these transformed sounds of song and a video installation that includes a time-lapse sequence of the changing light in the Church sanctuary from sunrise to sunset, Day and Finely’s Threshold transports the residents of Lytton Gardens and memorializes its residents who have passed away. Mel Day’s work has been included in exhibitions throughout the Bay Area, including Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Southern Exposure, and internationally in Berlin, Copenhagen, and Toronto. She received an M.F.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, and is represented by Peak Gallery in Toronto. Jeanne C. Finley, a Guggenheim Fellow and Media Arts Professor at California College of the Arts, has exhibited at the MOMA, the Guggenheim Museum, and in the Whitney Biennial. Her work is represented by the Patricia Sweetow Gallery, San Francisco. Day and Finley would like to acknowledge the support of the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, Stanford University. 

Susan O’Malley’s Community Advice project intends to gather Palo Alto’s collective wisdom and then reflect it back to the community. O’Malley will work in residence in the community to ask people of all ages two simple questions: “What advice would you give to your eight-year old self? What advice would you give to your eighty-year old self?” Excerpts from the resulting responses will be translated into a series of ten woodblock text posters that will be displayed throughout the community and in the Art Center gallery—blurring the boundaries between art and daily experience. Susan O’Malley’s entire body of work focuses on people, language, and optimism. Based in San Jose, she received her B.A. from Stanford University and her M.F.A. from California College of the Art’s Social Practice program. As both an artist and a curator, she has participated in programs and exhibitions at Southern Exposure, Mission 17, the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, and The Lab.

Describing his work as a collision of pop culture and cultural heritage, Carlos Ramirez will mix the histories of Mesoamerica and the Silicon Valley to create his interactive ceramic installation. Inspired by imagery from the community, Ramirez will create clay molds for 10 in. by 10 in. tiles. Visitors to the gallery will help to create the tiles, then use them to decorate a monumental structure in the gallery inspired by Mesoamerican architecture. Over time, the installation will transform as the unfired tiles will begin to dry, crack, and chip. Oakland-based Carlos Ramirez received his B.F.A. from California State University Chico and his M.F.A. from California College of the Arts. His work has been exhibited at Southern Exposure in San Francisco, the American Museum of Ceramic Art in Pomona and the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art at the California College of the Arts.

Community Creates partners ten contemporary artists with community members to create installation projects in the transformed Palo Alto Art Center. The exhibition creates an enriching experience for visitors by presenting compelling contemporary installations in a wide variety of media created by important emerging and established Bay Area artists. At the same time, by including community participation, the resulting artworks offer viewers another level of meaning and engagement, through the stories and voices of their own neighbors, friends, children, and colleagues.

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The mission of the Djerassi Resident Artists Program is to support and enhance the creativity of artists by providing uninterrupted time for work, reflection, and collegial interaction in a setting of great natural beauty, and to preserve the land on which the Program is situated.
The Palo Alto Art Center is your place to discover art. See, make, and be inspired because everyone is an artist.Created by the community, for the community in 1971, the Palo Alto Art Center provides an accessible and welcoming place to engage with art. We serve approximately 70,000 people every year through a diverse range of programs.


Djerassi Resident Artists Program
2325 Bear Gulch Road  
Woodside, CA 94062
650 747-1250