The Palo Alto Art Center provides an accessible and welcoming place where the community engages with art. The Center's mission is to foster creative process and thought by forging a greater appreciation and understanding of the visual arts through exhibitions, studio experiences, and related educational programs. The Art Center believes that this is best achieved by connecting the experience of viewing art with a direct involvement in making art. The Art Center serves approximately 70,000 people every year through a diverse range of programs.
The Palo Alto Art Center opened in 1971 in response to the community's interest in creating a place for the public to make, explore, and experience the visual arts. The Art Center is owned and operated by the City of Palo Alto as a program of the Division of Arts and Sciences, Department of Community Services. The Palo Alto Art Center Foundation was founded in 1973 and is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides support to the Art Center through a public/private partnership. Through this partnership, the Foundation significantly enhances the reach and quality of the Art Center's programs by fundraising and advocacy.