Fletcher Benton’s “Folded Circle Hemisphere” in San Mateo.
Editor's note: Read more about public art in the Valley, including Palo Alto's and Stanford's must-visit artworks, here.
The city has had a percent-for-art program in place for 10 years and owns around 40 pieces. The art ranges from the whimsical, “Toad’s Book Club,” sited in front of the main library, to the majestic, “Aura II,” by Alexander Liberman, located at 301 East Evelyn Ave.
Public art is part of the city’s master plan. Included are murals on walls downtown and 20 shadow-art stencils (on bike racks, benches and mailboxes) by Damon Belanger, located on Broadway and Courthouse Square.
In existence since 1984, the city’s public art program includes 250 artworks located in 130 sites. Much of the collection can be found in city-owned facilities (libraries, parks, community centers) and at the airport, where you can see Björn Schülke’s “Space Observer.” The McEnery Convention Center is home to a collection by sculptors like Manuel Neri and Nathan Oliveira.
City Arts of San Mateo publishes a guide to its collection. It includes 28 outdoor pieces, from a mural influenced by Mexican artists (St. Matthews Branch Post Office) to “Leon,” a 13-foot-high copper giraffe by Albert Guibara in Central Park.
The city’s small collection is mainly in the Civic Center area; the best-known piece is Benny Bufano’s totemic “Universal Child.” Nearby is the Triton Museum, which has a small sculpture garden. The de Saisset Museum, on the Santa Clara University campus, is currently hosting an exhibition of new work by East Bay sculptor Bruce Beasley (on view until Dec. 4).
The city has had a public art program since the mid-1980s, and boasts a permanent collection with more than 100 pieces. “El Paseo de los Suenos” by Gene Flores can be found on the corner of El Camino Real and Mathilda Avenue. The Community Center is home to several sculptures, including Dan Dyke’s “Matrix.” 408.730.7758
Originally published in the November issue of Silicon Valley