//Ad libs: Art anywhere

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Art anywhere

The Houston Zoo has painted rhinos, zebras and peacocks on its restroom stall doors, which just goes to show that you can put art anywhere. Locally, I got inspired to shoot this video by an underground parking garage.

I spend half my life in galleries and museums, but a visit to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation reminded me that art is often sweeter in unexpected places. A garage there features a cheerful three-part trompe l'oeil mural of waterways, Mediterranean architecture and plants. It's thanks to Los Gatos artist John Pugh, whose acrylic mural "Banos del Cielo (Baths of the Sky)" was finished last year with the help of philanthropic gifts.

"Our donors realized that the majority of patients come into the building through the garage and that entrance is not welcoming at all," said Anne Jigger, the foundation's vice president for philanthropy.

Kudos. May I suggest some other places in town that could benefit from this philosophy?

Also in my video is a recent photo exhibit at Keeble & Shuchat Photography. Shows hang out in a sunny conference room upstairs, a place you may never have seen even if you're a K&S regular. There's often one going on -- follow the stairs in the back of the shop. The exhibit shown was by the Santa Clara Camera Club, and I particularly liked "Flying Egret" by Li Li (the one with the swoopy white bird).

Lastly, one of my favorite pieces of public art, the cat sculpture in the tucked-away Seminary Oaks Park in Menlo Park. The park is worth tracking down to see this work by Belmont artist Robley Browne, who was on the Weekly's cover last year. Both cat and bowl were sculpted in clay and cast into bronze as a tribute to Catherine Birdsall Johnson, who lived on the land in the 1800s and loved felines. Wooden steps represent the stoop of the old house that was once there.

The music in the video is by Woody Herman & His Orchestra. It's "The End Of The Rainbow" (1940), found at www.jazz-on-line.com.