Meet the Winners of the Palo Alto Art Center’s Artist-in-Residence Program

We're not gonna lie. It's fun to make fun of Silicon Valley for its embrace of deadening, soul-sucking technology and its corresponding dearth of culture. It's easy to characterize it as some hyper-capitalist, dystopian bubble, so close to (yet so far from) the arts hub that is San Francisco or the free-thinking sprawl of the East Bay.

There's just one problem with embracing this neat and simple stereotype: It isn't true.

Silicon Valley and its surrounding areas were rustic arts meccas before, during, and after the various booms and busts that have blessed (or plagued) the region.

In fact, towns like Palo Alto are, in a way, well-situated for aspiring artists. The area is gorgeous, the big city isn't that far away, and artists get to live in a town filled with educated and deep-pocketed individuals. (Now's the time in the article when we conveniently ignore the fact that the average month's rent near Stanford averages $1,251 a month, while the average for the ritzier Greer Park neighborhood is around $1,700).

All of this brings us to the Palo Art Center and the announcement of its 2014-2015 Artist-in-Residence Program participants. The winners include:

  • Cristina Velazquez, an installation artists who reuses and transforms everyday objects into works of art.
  • May Wilson, who is based in San Francisco and earned her MFA in Studio Art from the University of California.
  • Lauren DiCioccio, who creates "intricate embroidered objects" that "investigate the beauty of mass-produced media-objects facing obsolescence."
  • Joel Daniel Phillips, who works in life-size charcoal portraiture.

Artists were selected through a competitive process by a panel consisting of Art Center staff members from the exhibitions, education, and studio program areas.

Artist honoraria for each three-month residency is $5,000 and is inclusive of materials. Artwork created during the residency will be loaned to the Art Center for the exhibition period, then returned to the artist at the close of the exhibition.

Residents must:

  • Work on-site developing artwork(s) during regularly scheduled periods, with studio space provided by the center.
  • Attend an Art Center staff meeting to assist with the development of programming related to the artwork(s) being created.
  • Present at least one participatory workshop for the general public to create content for the installation. The artist will determine the extent and kind of public involvement in concert with Art Center staff.

If the past is any indication, the center will begin accepting applications on or around March 10, 2015 with a deadline in mid-April.