Art in Unusual Places to take place next week

A dome made of sticks created by Palo Alto High School photography students stands inside the Viking Stadium as an exhibition of this year’s Art in Unusual Places Celebration starting Monday. According to Paly photography teacher Kenna Gallagher, photography students were able to create a new piece for this year’s event centered around an artist the class was learning about. “For my class, we did a sculptural project based on an artist who works primarily with nature as their medium and then photographs it in its process to document it,” Gallagher said. (Photo: Leena Hussein)

From stick domes to a chalk mural, Palo Alto High School’s Visual and Performing Arts students will showcase their artistic exhibitions throughout campus starting Monday for the annual Art in Unusual Places celebration. 

In addition to the pieces of art and photography displayed on pillars and buildings around campus, performances from Paly’s band, orchestra, theater program and dance team will occur during lunch throughout the week.

According to art teacher Tracey Atkinson, the week will showcase VAPA students’ accomplishments and efforts.

“This event highlights amazing things students at this school do,” Atkinson said. “Sometimes people don’t hear the bands or they don’t see the theater performers or they don’t see the fabulous visual art that’s happening. So we’re just trying to get it out there and have a week where our students’ voices can be heard a little bit more.”

Photography teacher Kenna Gallagher said this event can also help students gain interest in the different art classes at Paly.

“I think the biggest challenge is that nobody knows it [Art in Unusual Places] is happening and [they] don’t understand what it is despite it happening every year in January,” Gallagher said. “This is to showcase what the VAPA departments are doing, what each individual area is working on, and get people excited to join our classes. Because right now is also the time where students are signing up for classes for next year.”

According to Gallagher, photography students had more time to prepare this year and were able to create domes out of sticks that will be displayed inside the Viking Stadium. 

“I had no idea what it [the event] was about as a brand new teacher, and this year, I had a little more understanding of the preparation needs and expectations,” Gallagher said. “This year, it [the event] just happened to coincide with a nature project I was doing anyway in my photo class. So it was all sort of last minute, but all the little pieces came together at the last minute to create something kind of amazing.”

Sophomore Marcus Ling who participated in Art in Unusual Places last year as a member of the band is also looking forward to representing the music program and performing on unique stages next week.

“[Last year] we played at lunch on the Quad,” Ling said. “We went to the upper floor of the library and got to perform there, so it might be cool to do something like that again.” 

Ling said this event will give the band and the whole VAPA program opportunities to play for the school outside of the traditional concert settings.

“Going to kind of random places and playing there was actually pretty fun,” Ling said. “Most people don’t really hear the band unless they go to the football games or our concerts, so it’s nice to go around and feel like we’re playing for people.” 

Atkinson said she hopes the Art in Unusual Places celebration next week will help students come together and enjoy the various forms of art that will be showcased.

I hope students take-away a greater understanding and appreciation of the hard work that students do at this school and the sort of the beauty and magic of it all,” Atkinson said. “It’s amazing what they [the students] have accomplished. They’ve worked very hard to do these pieces, so I hope they will gain recognition.”