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By Rebecca Wallace

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About this blog: I grew up in Menlo Park and have long been involved with both local journalism and local theater. After starting my career as an editorial intern with The Almanac, I was a staff reporter for the Almanac and the San Mateo County Ti...  (More)

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Public art: Chairs with flair

Uploaded: Oct 28, 2013
I was in Louisville a few years ago performing in a musical about biblical midwives, as one does. In between rehearsals and shows and watching the Ohio River go by, I saw a lot of horses.

Spread around town, the statues looked like high-stepping carousel stars and flying thoroughbreds, painted by different artists. In front of the Marriott, the "Heartbeat of the City" horse had an EKG graphic that morphed into the downtown skyline. Another horse glowed shiny brown like a coffee bean, and one was patterned with dollar bills and named "Bull Market."

We actors loved the horses, taking tons of pictures and choosing our favorites. The "Gallopalooza" project gave the downtown a quirky charm. There were 132 horses that year, 2009, and when they were auctioned off they reportedly raised $350,000 for city beautification projects.

Kentucky was joining in a popular public-art trend that has won over many cities. The Connecticut-based CowParade is the biggie. Local artists have painted and put up cow sculptures all over town as places as far-flung as New York, Stockholm, Mexico City, Tokyo. CowParade says the project has raised $20 million for charity.

Now, Palo Alto is giving the idea a whirl. The local version is the Painted Chairs Project, featuring 1930s-style folding wooden chairs. The Pacific Art League and the Woman's Club of Palo Alto are seeking 40 artists to create their own chair flair.

The gussied-up chairs will be displayed around Palo Alto and then auctioned off on March 29. Proceeds go to the art league and club, with prizes for the artists. The contest is open to all artists over 18, and chairs can be picked up Nov. 1 & 2 and Jan. 3 & 4 at the club, 475 Homer Ave.

Comments

Posted by Anita Felicelli, a resident of Rex Manor,
on Nov 4, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Anita Felicelli is a registered user.

Interesting, Rebecca. Have you read/seen Ionesco's "The Chairs?" The idea of chairs all around Palo Alto reminds me of that play.


Posted by Rebecca Wallace, arts & entertainment editor of the Palo Alto Weekly,
on Nov 4, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Rebecca Wallace is a registered user.

I can see it! Yes, I was introduced to that play by a favorite teacher at Menlo-Atherton HS. Not sure I really got the script then, but subsequent readings helped...


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