New sculpture lights up downtown Los Altos

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Courtesy of Joel Bartlett
The Aug. 2 dedication of the new outdoor sculpture “Dodi,” drew a small group of art aficionados. “Dodi” is located at the Assistance League of Los Altos building on State Street.

As public gatherings go, this was a modest one – COVID-19 health and safety protocols have seen to that. But the Aug. 2 dedication of a new, lighted art installation in downtown Los Altos drew a small, socially distanced yet spirited group.

“This is about the most fun we’ve had this whole time,” said Yelena Filipchuk, co-creator of the new sculpture, “Dodi.”

Filipchuk and fellow artist Serge Beaulieu were both on hand to discuss the inspiration behind their sculpture, a 6-foot-tall dodecahedron – a 12-sided shape – installed in front of the Assistance League of Los Altos building on State Street.

The new installation commands attention – illuminated from within by LED lights, the piece continuously changes colors and produces intricate patterns as it throws shadows and light on its surroundings.

Filipchuk and Beaulieu are part of an Oakland-based collaborative, HYBYCOZO (Hyperspace Bypass Construction Zone), that also includes expert fabricators, handlers and installers. The group’s pieces are displayed worldwide.

“Our artwork is based on wanting to portray the beauty and the elegance of mathematics and geometry as it appears in our natural world,” Filipchuk said.

“We always like to think of our art as mathematics inspiring art, but we also see how art can inspire creativity in math,” Beaulieu added.

“Dodi” was one of the duo’s first pieces, constructed in 2014.

Masked attendees at the unveiling stayed within the circles drawn on the Assistance League patio, not only to hear about the installation, but also to learn about the newly created group behind it, Arts Los Altos. Led by two former members of the Los Altos Public Arts Commission, the nonprofit aims to place public art on private property in downtown Los Altos.

“It’s the donations that make it work, since we are privately funded on private property,” said co-leader Karen Zucker.

The group held a silent auction for a miniature version of “Dodi” as part of its fundraising efforts.

“Public art is one creative way we can celebrate our city and bring delight for the many people walking our open streets,” said Arts Los Altos co-leader Maddy McBirney in a June announcement of the group’s formation. “It creates community and a sense of placemaking.”

McBirney said Arts Los Altos hopes to demonstrate how focused donations can make more public art possible in the downtown area.

Arts Los Altos has a mural planned for downtown Los Altos on Main Street. The installation is scheduled in mid-September. Group members said a second mural is planned for Third Street, sometime this year.

Arts Los Altos is a member of Intersection for the Arts, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, allowing tax-deductible donations.

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