Art in Unusual Places


Visual and performing arts students showcased their talents in demonstrations during the annual Art in Unusual Places celebration at Palo Alto High School.

The four-day event featured performances from choir, theater, orchestra and band as well as painting and sculptures from Paly art classes.

Choir teacher Michael Najar, the main creator of this event, explains that the purpose of Art in Unusual Places is to bring the arts to the public in a way that is accessible and can be enjoyed by everyone.

“The premise is simple, art should and can be everywhere and experienced by all,” Najar said.

Photos by Adrienne Kwok

Photos by Adrienne Kwok

Keith Haring Sculptures

Photos by Adrienne Kwok and Emilia Diaz-Magaloni

Photos by Adrienne Kwok and Emilia Diaz-Magaloni

Intermediate Sculpture students used plaster and paint to create art inspired by Keith Haring. According to art teacher Steve Ferrera the assignment served as a perfect way for students to get used to new materials and share their art with the school. 

“His [Keith Haring's] art can translate well to young adults this age because it is very playful and graphic and it introduced new materials to the class," Ferrera said. "I think they got a lot out of it — it's a very physical activity.”

Weather Photography

Photos by Adrienne Kwok and Emilia Diaz-Magaloni

Students from the photography classes pinned weather-themed photos to trees.

Glass Blowing

Photo by Emilia Diaz-Magaloni
Glass blowing students, taught by Ferrera, designed a totem pole made of blown glass in front of students.

Nature Sculptures

Photos by Adrienne Kwok and Emilia Diaz-Magaloni

Advanced Sculpture created tree structures inspired by Andy Goldsworthy, a prominent artist known for his unusual, nature-inspired pieces.

Juniors Kaitlyn Nakamura, Elizabeth Wilkinson, Josh Code and Claudio Malagrino partook in building the structure.

“We looked at the work of Andy Goldsworthy, he does earth art in Unusual Places," Nakamura said."It's a perfect opportunity to do something outside because the idea is to make what we are doing accessible to everyone at the school.” 

Students gathered material from Stanford campus and built the structures in front of the Media Arts Center.

Theater 2 performed a song from the musical "The Wild Wild Party" in the library. The dance featured jazz hands and shimmying to the beat of a jazzy tune and was choreographed by Paly alumna and New York University theatre student Cara Kienitz.

Sophomore theatre student Alex Dinu, who also participated in Art in Unusual Places last year, played an integral part in the theater performance.

"I loved that the audience was so involved and was clapping along and everything," Dinu said.
       Choir sang "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey.

According to junior Georgina Wu, performing in an unusual place was a rewarding experience. The performance in the library featured pieces from Renaissance to pop and gave students a sneak peek of what Paly singers will be performing in the Paly Pops concert. 

"It felt odd to perform in the library, but I feel like it's a very good way to spread the culture and tell people what we are doing," Wu said.  


Video by Adrienne Kwok

With cellos, violins and violas, players from Paly Orchestra looked at teacher conductor Jeff Willner with rapt attention, harmonizing to songs from "The Nutcracker," "The Sound of Music" and other classical pieces on Tuesday.


Photo by Emilia Diaz-Magaloni

Paly Band performed pieces such as Uptown Funk in scattered locations on the Quad.

"Art happens everywhere, stop, look or listen if your get the chance. The premise is simple, art should and can be everywhere and experienced by all,” Najar said.