Palo Alto Festival of the Arts

A big supporter of the arts, Palo Alto will once again host to the Festival of the Arts on Saturday and Sunday, August 22nd and 23rd from 10am to 6pm. Celebrating its 34th year, the free event takes place along University Avenue between High and Webster.

The Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce is the driving force behind the event that attracts over 150,00 attendees. This two-day celebration centers on the 300+ fine and contemporary artists who display their work at only a few choice shows. The art on display includes ceramics, mixed media, photography, sculpture and painting, to name but a few.

Sixty chalk artists will participant in the 12th annual Italian Street Painting Expo, creating impressive artwork on the pavement along Tasso Street. Sponsored by the Palo Alto Weekly, this crowd-pleasing event fascinates festival-goers from the first sketch on Saturday morning to the close of the event Sunday evening when the works are finally complete and soon to be washed away.

Pavement art originate in Italy in the 16th century and gained widespread popularity across Europe. At the Palo Alto Festival of the Arts, street paintings range in size from 4 X 6 feet to 12 X 12 feet and the artists create masterpieces that include classical, abstract and 3- dimensional subjects. Children have a designated “Chalk-a-Lot” area where they, too, can create unique chalk drawings for a minimal fee. Youth Community Service will benefit from proceeds raised at this year’s Street Painting Expo.

Art aficionados of all ages will appreciate the ‘Moving Menagerie in Metal’ by sculptor Frederick Prescott. ‘A blend of folk art, pop art and technically advanced construction’, Prescott creates a whimsical zoo of colorful, moving steel animals that make up the festival’s Sculpture Plaza on University and Cowper.

No festival would be complete without an array of tantalizing gourmet food, and the Palo Alto Festival of the Arts doesn’t disappoint. Fine wines and micro brewed beers and ales will also be served among a backdrop of live music and entertainment. There are also activities for children, including a Kid’s Art Studio where budding artists can create to their heart’s content.

For more information on the festival, including suggestions on parking and transportation, visit the Palo Alto Festival of the Arts website.