Preview: Arts in Unusual Places to bring mid-winter cheer

Sophia Krugler and Kira Sterling

Palo Alto High School’s Spectrum Women’s Choir performed in the Media Arts Center last year as part of the Arts in Unusual Places event. “I think it provides interesting projects for artists to create and think about, while some people can enjoy their creations,” junior Allison Chanin, a choir student, said. Photo: Allie Feitzinger

Following displays of small art projects and performances from band and choir last year, Arts in Unusual Places will return to Palo Alto High School this week.

Art teacher Kate McKenzie said the event began as a way to liven up the Paly campus during the cold winter months.

“It started because we made a commitment as a department to get art out in the campus,” McKenzie said. “And we did that in part because we wanted art on campus but also at the time — this was a few years ago — there was a push to make the campus just a little bit [of a] happier place.”

Displays of student-created art from previous years included eccentric motivational posters, percussion performances on the Quad, choir performances in the Media Arts Center, ceramic sculptures, and spontaneous portraits of students.

Junior Hope Morita, who has taken art classes at Paly since her freshman year, said she enjoyed taking part in the effort to decorate Paly’s campus.

“Arts in Unusual Places is a really fun way for everyone on campus to appreciate and celebrate the different forms of art that take place in our school,” Morita said.

According to junior choir student Allison Chanin, Arts in Unusual Places allows students to enjoy art that they would not otherwise experience.

“I think the art department puts this on because it’s a good way for people to experience art without having to seek it themselves,” Chanin said.

McKenzie said that her students usually spend just one to two days creating their pieces for the event since any art displayed outside is at risk of being stolen or damaged. 

“If it’s anything of more significant quality, it does walk away,” McKenzie said. “So the planning is about just coming up with something that’s unique, that can be really small and fast.”