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Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University

Lomita Drive & Museum Way
Stanford, California

Phone: 650-723-4177 --

Statement of Purpose:

Ancient to contemporary art: Asian, African, Oceanic, Native American, pre-Columbian, post-Renaissance European paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints, photographs. Stanford family memorabilia.

Highlights & Collections:

Stanford University's Cantor Arts Center presents a wide selection of art in 24 galleries plus outdoor gardens, terraces, and courtyards.  Its comprehensive collection spans 4000 years, ranging from ancient Egyptian and Chinese to contemporary art.  Admission is free. The Center offers free tours, talks, and symposia, in addition to exhibitions.


Nine Reasons for a Summertime Family Visit to Stanford University's Cantor Arts Center - Plus Free Admission

The Cantor Arts Center is a great summer destination.  Admission is free to all 24 art galleries, the museum is air-conditioned, and docents offer 45-minute, family-friendly tours.  Free, illustrated brochures-"Animals in Art" and the new "Leland Jr. and His Travels"-help children engage with the art on view.  The Cantor Arts Center is one mile from downtown Palo Alto and very near Stanford Shopping Center, three miles from highway 101, and five miles from highway 280.  

Family visits to the Cantor Arts Center can include:
ß A waterproof overcoat of mammal intestines made in Alaska's Aleutian Islands, in about 1825
ß A larger-than-life sculpture of a horse which looks like driftwood but is really bronze
ß An outdoor sculpture made of more than 6,500 stones
ß An indoor sculpture on the second floor that looks exactly like a real cement worker
ß The most famous railroad spike in the world
ß A 3000-year old Egyptian mummy with information about how it was made
ß The art world's most famous kiss
ß Fresh fruit cobbler at the Cool Café, overlooking the Rodin Sculpture Garden. Cool down with fresh pink lemonade or the café's special Arnold Palmer iced tea. The café also serves a seasonal variety of sandwiches to enjoy on the terrace.
ß Picnics in the Rodin Sculpture Garden. There's plenty of shade, benches, tables, and art!

Stroll through the Center's 24 galleries, each with a different focus, and experience art of major cultures from around the globe and through the ages.  Works range from a 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummy still in its ornate case to silver Chinese dragons, from 18th- and 19th-century European painting and decorative arts to traditional Native American and contemporary art of the U.S.

Twenty bronzes grace the B. Gerald Cantor Sculpture Garden on the south side of the Center.  Look for Rodin's "The Burghers of Calais" nearby on campus.  Additional art on the Center's grounds includes works by contemporary artists. Get a free map at the Cantor Arts Center listing the nearly 100 outdoor sculptures on campus.  Free public tours of campus sculpture are given the first Sunday of each month at 2 p.m. - on June 2, July 7, August 4, and September 1.  Meet at the Main Quad entrance facing the Oval for this tour.

July 14, 2004–January 2, 2005
20 Questions (working title)
This exhibition, organized by teams of Cantor Arts Center curators and interns, examines a number of frequently asked questions about objects and their presentation in museums. Drawn from all the collections of the Center, objects are selected and juxtaposed in a series of vignettes comprising the exhibition to provoke each question. There will be means for visitor feedback.
January 16 – May 1, 2005
On the Edge: Chinese Artists in the Era of Globalization
This innovative exhibition features bold experimental works by 11 of China's leading avant-garde artists, including Huang Yong Ping, Qiu Zhijie, Yan Lei, Xu Bing, and Zhang Huan. The exhibition dissects the artists' position in the West-centric global art world and, as a corollary, China's political situation in regard to the West. Works presented in On the Edge range from bitingly humorous commentary on the artists' bumpy road to international stardom, to political pieces that have provoked minor diplomatic incidents, to thoughtful invitations to explore a common ground between East and West. The exhibition features more than 20 pieces in a variety of media (paintings, prints, photographs, videos, mixed media installations, sculptures, interactive CD-ROM). Catalog available.  Organized by the Cantor Arts Center and traveling to other institutions after viewing at Stanford.
February – May 2006
American ABC: Childhood in 19th-Century America
This exhibition explores the subject of childhood and its relationship to the American quest for national identity during the 19th century. Presenting works by Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, Eastman Johnson, and other major American artists, the exhibition investigates the connection between American ideas about children and the ideals and issues that defined the nation as it matured. Catalogue available.    Organized by the Cantor Arts Center and traveling to other institutions after viewing at Stanford.

Peter Voulkos Ceramics
Voulkos's works challenged conventional notions of ceramics as a purely functional art form. Inspired by sources as diverse as abstract expressionism and Japanese pottery, Voulkos created monumental works, hewn with a toughness and intimacy that developed over a lifetime of his engagement with the medium.  This installation features approximately a dozen works from the 1950s to the 1990s from local lenders and the Center's collection
African Art in Context
Field photographs and other didactic materials provide insight into the diverse art forms on display. The gallery features recent acquisitions and a section dedicated to the arts of southern Africa, including items of dress and body ornament from the Himba people of Namibia and beadwork by the Zulu and Ndebele people of South Africa.
The Life and Legacy of the Stanford Family
This installation examines  the interests and accomplishments of the Stanford family, including material relating to the Central Pacific Railroad, the Palo Alto Stock Farm, the founding of Stanford University, and the early days of the Stanford Museum.
Additional exhibitions from the collection, spanning the history of art to the 21st century, are on view in many of the Center’s 24 galleries plus sculpture gardens and terraces.

Admission is FREE. The Center is fully accessible to people with disabilities.

Center Hours
Open Wednesday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thursdays until 8 p.m.; including Easter and July 4
Closed Mondays and Tuesdays, Thanksgiving day, Christmas day, and New Years day

Location & Parking
The Center is located on the Stanford campus, at Museum Way, off Palm Drive.  Parking is free on weekends and after 4 p.m. weekdays.  Pay parking can be found weekdays in front of the Center or in the parking structure on Campus Drive and Roth Way.

Educational Programs: public lectures, symposia, and films; call 650-723-3469 for details

Free Docent Tours most Wednesdays through Sundays, call 650-723-3469 for details

Bookshop and Cafe
The Bookshop closes 15 minutes before the Center closes; 650-725-2775
The Cool Café stops food service 30 minutes before the Center closes; 650-725-4758

Telephone:  650-723-4177          Fax:  650-725-0464
Group Tours:  650-723-3469            TTY:  650-723-1216


DRIVING from the 101 freeway:  Take the University Avenue exit heading West.  Follow University Avenue through downtown Palo Alto to the Stanford University campus.  As you enter the Stanford campus, University Avenue turns into Palm Drive.  Take Palm Drive to Museum Way, turn right on Museum Way.

DRIVING from Highway 280:  Take the Sand Hill Road exit heading east.  Follow Sand Hill Road to Arboretum.  Turn right on Arboretum then a right on Palm Drive.  Turn right at Museum Way.
MASS TRANSIT:  The Cantor Arts Center is a pleasant 20-minute walk from the Palo Alto Caltrain station.  Bicycles are permitted on the train, in the designated car.  Santa Clara County Transit Services and Samtrans (San Mateo County) buses come to campus.


Key Personnel:

Thomas K. Seligman, Director
Jill Osaka.

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