PAL Talks Art – the philosophy of our new program
Founded in 1921 as the Palo Alto Art Club by a group of local art enthusiasts and Stanford professors, the antecedent to the Pacific Art League, filled the need to establish a community of art lovers who wanted to create, appreciate, and debate the visual arts.
Surrounded by orchards and open fields, Palo Alto at that time was a far-flung sleepy town, and Stanford was a relatively unknown, provincial university. As Silicon Valley exploded into a power house of innovation, Stanford also became the world-renowned center of learning we know today.
At the same time, The Pacific Art League (PAL) also developed into a vibrant art school providing classes and workshops for more than 2300 students on a yearly basis and a dynamic program of exhibitions. But during this process we may have lost some of our core focus and original purpose of being a community place, a facet of PAL somewhat wistfully remembered by some of our loyal, long serving membership.
To build on our spirit of community and our desire to bring new friends and families to PAL, we are launching an exciting new series, PAL Talks Art, strengthening the “appreciation” element of our mission statement:
“The Pacific Art League’s mission is to advance the expression, appreciation and enjoyment of the arts, for all”
There are many ways in which art can be “appreciated”. On a fundamental level we experience it aesthetically by simply looking at an image and finding visual beauty within it. On a deeper level, we try to relate that image, intellectually and emotionally, to anything outside of itself. Looking at works of Old Masters, we penetrate the region where time has stopped and try to reactivate it by picturing and analyzing the cultural and historic settings in which those images were created.
Emotionally, we inevitably endow a piece of art with meaning and moral significance that to some degree is derived from our own lives. Our perception of art is always inextricably bound to our personal experiences.
There is yet another level, the metaphysical, when experiencing art reveals a vivid awareness of something infinite and beautiful existing outside of us – that experience can help us rise above our limited selves and see a bigger universe.
Against this background we want to honor and revitalize the idea a small group of local intellectuals and art enthusiast had nearly 100 years ago – an art club, a salon – a place to come together and talk Art.
If you have experienced The Pacific Art League, you know that in many ways we reflect Silicon Valley. We are an optimistic, eclectic community of diverse backgrounds, ages, and geographic origins. There is a glue however, that keeps all these disparate pigments together – that glue is the love of art. No matter how different we all are, we are very much a community because of that. And we invite you to join our community.
If you have ever been moved by a piece of art, if you ever looked at an image and wondered what makes it beautiful or disturbing, come and join us. If you question the idea of what art is, or should be, and why we need it, come, and share it with us. Or, if you simply enjoy a glass of wine and good company, please know that you can always find it at 668 Ramona street.