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VA Palo Alto Health Care System


Polytrauma Families Find Meaning in Palo Alto Forest

Palo Alto Forest art exhibit

The Palo Alto Forest art exhibit

By Renee Magana
Friday, October 19, 2012

A collection of 391 photos printed on glass assemble to make up the Palo Alto Forest, an art exhibit at the Palo Alto Art Center. Through a local paper, artist Angela Buenning Filo invited the community to take a picture of a Palo Alto tree that was meaningful to be displayed in the new exhibit. Riding the success of the recent Family Photo Journey exhibition where families were able to display their own artwork, Veterans and their families in the Polytrauma System of Care at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System (VAPAHCS) were encouraged to continue their artistic expression through this community opportunity.

Renee Magana, family care coordinator & community liaison at VAPAHCS, worked with families to gather submissions as well as submitting her own art for the exhibit, which opened Saturday, October 6. The images were part of the grand re-opening of the Palo Alto Art Center.

Those who submitted their photograph were also asked to write a six-word story about the tree they chose to photograph, so hundreds of photographs were transformed by Ms. Buenning Filo as she printed each, along with its story, on glass. The collaboration is illuminated from all angles as the photos hang down in a circular form filling a gallery room.

The Palo Alto Art Center grand reopening was open to the public for interactive events to create, learn, tour, walk, and observe. Also featured were African drumming and Indian dancing performances to entertain guests walking around the Center.

Canopy, the non-profit group who donated 11 trees for the Veterans Day tree planting at VAPAHCS in 2011, and the Palo Alto Art Center sponsored the project, which will remain on display through April 14, 2013.

More information about the community-activated photo project is available on the Palo Alto Forest website.


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