Welcome to Your Virtual Gallery Tour

Rooted ExhibitIn spring 2020, the Palo Alto Art Center presented “Rooted: Trees in Contemporary Art.”

In this unique exhibit, artists from around the world use trees as subject, symbol, and medium to illuminate the world around us. Together, they offer a beautiful testament to the significance of trees in our environment, our communities, and our lives.

The Art Center closed shortly after the exhibit opening as COVID-19 hit, but we were able to take one more trip to the gallery and offer a virtual glimpse of this inspiring exhibition.

Enjoy the show!

A huge thank you to Karen Kienzle and the Palo Alto Art Center for their partnership and collaboration. 

Watch the Full Tour (Exhibit Highlights)

Or click here for one-minute tour segments.

Watch Bonus Features

Curating the Exhibit

Two-minute drawing lesson


Explore Photos

Exhibit Photos and Artist Statements (Canopy Flickr) – below

Art Gallery Photos  by Bern Becham (Art Center Flickr)

Friday Night at the Art Center from January 24, 2020 (Art Center Flickr)

FY20 - Rooted: Trees in Contemporary Art


About the Exhibit (from the Art Center)

Perhaps more than any other elements of the landscape, trees represent nature.

“Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever know how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.” – Herman Hesse, Bäume. Betrachtungen und Gedichte

Their greenery breaks up the hardscape of our suburban or urban environments, reminding us of the natural world. Trees remain the largest living organisms on earth. They also serve as relics of a prehistoric world, with some trees in California dated at about 5,000 years old. For the reasons and more, trees have continued to inspire artists, generating artwork that encourages us to consider the power of trees in our lives and communities.

Trees provide a variety of benefits to people and our larger ecosystem. They trap dust and air pollution, shading harmful solar radiation. Trees absorb carbon dioxide as they grow, reducing the overall concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and slowing climate change. They are natural air conditioners, reducing summer temperatures. Trees help people live longer, healthier, and ultimately happier lives, averting an estimated $6.8B in health care costs. Research indicates that exposure to trees reduces blood pressure, slowing heart rates and reducing stress.

Artistic approaches to trees are as diverse as the trees around us. In this exhibition, you will see works of art that address the unique abilities of trees to survive, to regenerate, and transform. Works in the exhibition showcase the power of trees to reflect age, to serve as memorials or tools of healing, and to evoke spirituality. Throughout, you will see creative collaborations in which artists work with trees to create unique works of art.


Self-Guided Tour

Watch the virtual tour by chapter:

#1: Welcome to your virtual tour

#3: Galen Brown’s “Trees”

#5: David Maxim’s “Embrace” series

#7: Meridel Rubenstein’s “Brocade”

#9: Ann McMillan’s “Oak Trees of Palo Alto”

#11: Thank you! A final word from Susan

#2: The Art Center loves trees!

#4: Jamie Vasta’s “Inferno”

#6: Meridel Rubenstein’s “Village Tree”

#8: Maria Elena González’ “T2 23-33”

#10: Ann McMillan’s “Oak in the Arboretum”

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