This is the first in a series of columns written by members of the Los Altos Public Arts Commission. Monthly columns will take readers on a “tour” of art displayed across the city, highlighting one sculpture and including tidbits about both the artist and the work.
Art has been displayed publicly throughout Los Altos since 1987. The pieces are primarily, but not limited to, sculpture, and they are chosen for visual appeal, artistic skill and adherence with environmental and safety standards.
A call for art goes out to artists every 12-18 months, and interested artists are encouraged to apply for consideration. From the submissions, several artists might be chosen to receive stipends to lend their pieces for display for a period of two years. The Public Arts Commission selects and places public art and tries to engage the community in support, appreciation and promotion of public art.
Los Altos is currently displaying 29 pieces of outdoor sculpture, 20 of which are owned by the city and nine of which are on loan from the artists.
The “Midnight Stomp Series” by artist Pokey Park is located on First Street in front of Safeway. It is a series of three whimsical, expressive, joyful bronze birds, each of which is dancing and singing in the moonlight. One bird simply sings to the moon; another’s dance is inspired by the “Electric Slide” dance by Ric Silver; and the third does the twist, inspired by The Beatles’ “Twist and Shout.”
Park loves to work outside and observe nature in her flower-filled garden in Tucson, Ariz. She has noticed that when birds are by themselves, they have a sense of humor and often look like they are having parties as they dance, preen and carry on when humans don’t disturb them. Park always looks for the joy in nature as she strives to lift people up and heal them, rather than reminding them of life’s miseries.
Her sculptures are displayed in many public venues, including a large commission of 43 animal habitat sculptures at the new Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford.
This month will mark the commission’s inaugural “Scavenger Hunt for Art,” in which participants will be encouraged to locate sculptures in a designated area of Los Altos. “Midnight Stomp” will be included in the first hunt. Details will be announced next week.
Ginny Strock is a member of the Los Altos Public Arts Commission.