Workshops will help city create public art plan

Town Crier File Photo
As the city of Los Altos crafts a Public Art Master Plan, it may move from individual statues like the birds frolicking outside the First Street Safeway, left, to a more cohesive art strategy.

The Los Altos Public Arts Commission has dubbed next week “Workshop Week” as members gather public input for developing a Public Art Master Plan.

A Public Art Vision Workshop is scheduled 5:30 p.m. Monday at Hillview Community Center, 97 Hillview Ave. A “smART Planning” conversation on art, place and innovation will follow 6 p.m. May 24 at the Los Altos Youth Center, 1 N. San Antonio Road.

The Public Art Master Plan is a city-funded strategy intended to put a unique stamp on the visual culture in Los Altos. The city paid Designing Local, an Ohio-based planning firm, $50,000 to create the plan.

“A Public Art Master Plan can positively impact the cultural health of a community through defining place and creating an environment that drives growth in tourism, business and overall attachment by visitors and residents,” said Amanda Golden, principal at Designing Local. “Public art will improve Los Altos’ competitive edge, integrating the spirit of the city, community and business sector into one cohesive vision.”

To achieve such synergy, Designing Local seeks community input. At Monday’s workshop, local muralist Morgan Bricca, members of the Public Arts Commission and residents will discuss potential locations for public art and what types of art should be placed where.

The May 24 “smART Planning” conversation will feature moderator Cathy Kimball of the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art and a panel including Paul Buchheit of Y Combinator; Danny Harris, program director at the Knight Foundation; Chris Flink, executive director of the Exploratorium; Kelly Snider, a consultant for Los Altos Community Investments’ First Street Green project and principal at Kelly Snider Consulting; and Matt Schultz, a public artist at Burning Man.

Admission to both events is free and open to the public. No reservations are required.

Golden said she believes a public art plan could help connect new development to the legacy of a city like Los Altos.

“It can bring the community spirit into new development that creates positive connection to the soul of the community, despite its newness, through art,” she said.

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