Exhibit of Buena Vista Portraits

Press Release

Palo Alto Art Center Presents Life-Sized Portraits
of Palo Alto Buena Vista Mobile Home Park Residents

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Visitors to the Palo Alto Art Center will stand toe-to-toe with multiple generations of Buena Vista Mobile Home Park residents depicted in life-sized, highly detailed portraits by Oakland-based artist Joel Daniel Phillips, during his residency at the Art Center from June 18-August 29.

Phillips will offer the public a glimpse into his creative process as he draws his subjects using a combination of charcoal and graphite in the Art Center’s Glass Gallery on Thursdays from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., and Saturdays from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

My work focuses primarily on portraiture at a monumental scale,” says Phillips, who will create up to eight new drawings during his residency. “I am fascinated by the intricacies and commonalities that we share, and search for moments when our projected sense of self is transparent—allowing deeper, more truthful emotions to become visible.

Phillips is interested in highlighting communities that are often overlooked. His artistic process begins by spending time with individuals and families from those communities that are open to having their stories told through visual means. Reference photographs are then brought back to his studio where he spends several weeks painstakingly rendering his figures at a one-to-one scale.

He has exhibited his artwork in galleries throughout San Francisco, including Hashimoto Contemporary, Spoke Art , 111 Minna, and Intersection for the Arts, as well as in Los Angeles at the Hero Complex Gallery and in New York at Bold Hype Gallery . Phillips received the Tom Anderson Art Award from Westmont College in 2010-2011, and the Ludington-Parshall Art Award from the Santa Barbara Art Association in 2009-2010. He studied at the New York Center for Art and Media Studies, and received his BA in Fine Art in 2011 from Westmont College in Santa Barbara.

In addition to his regular studio drop-in hours at the Art Center, Phillips will be meeting with the public and creating his artwork during Friday Night at the Art Center, 7-10 p.m., on June 19. At the end of his residency, his drawings will be presented in the Art Center’s upcoming exhibition, Front Yard/Backstreet, which runs from Sept. 19-Dec. 13.

The Artist-in-Residence Program was established to reinforce the mission of the Art Center, and to build important connections between the recognized exhibition and studio programs and the community. Through this program, the Palo Alto Art Center will actively collaborate with artists throughout the region. During their residency, participating artists will engage with community members in a variety of Art Center programs, culminating in an installation project.

The Palo Alto Art Center’s Artist-in-Residence Program is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

About The Palo Alto Art Center:
The Palo Alto Art Center is your place to discover art. See, make, and be inspired because everyone is an artist. Created by the community, for the community in 1971, the Palo Alto Art Center provides an accessible and welcoming place to engage with art. We serve approximately 70,000 people every year through a diverse range of programs.

The Palo Alto Art Center, Division of Arts and Sciences, City of Palo Alto is funded in part by grants from Silicon Valley Creates and the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation. The Palo Alto Art Center Foundation gratefully acknowledges support from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Yellow Chair Foundation, private donations, and members.

Nonprofit joins effort to preserve Buena Vista

The Caritas Corporation is putting together plan to buy Palo Alto’s sole mobile-home park

by Gennady Sheyner / Palo Alto Weekly Thu, May 6, 2015

The Caritas corporation, a nonprofit organization that manages 20 mobile-home parks throughout California, has joined the last-ditch effort by Santa Clara county and Palo Alto officials to avert the closure of Buena Vista Mobile Home Park.

Caritas, a company based in Irvine, has entered into a contract with Santa Clara County that, in its first phase, requires the company to put together a purchase and sale agreement with the Jisser family, which owns the 4.5-acre mobile park.

The Jissers have been moving ahead with a closure application for Buena Vista since the fall of 2012, a process that could conclude on May 26, when the City Council is expected to formally approve the application. After the vote, the Jisser family will be able to launch the six-month process of evicting the park’s roughly 400 residents.

While the future of Buena Vista remains uncertain, the entry of Caritas into the preservation process has offered another shred of hope to the residents of the predominantly Hispanic and low-income community in Barron Park.

[Read full story…]


Buena Vista evictions could start next month

Pressure heightened to save Palo Alto’s only mobile-home park

Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian listens on April 13 as supporters and residents of the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park talk about the impact of the park’s potential closure. The county Board of Supervisors has set $8 million towards the possible purchase of the park. Photo by Veronica Weber.


As local officials continue to scour for ways to save Buena Vista Mobile Home Park from imminent closure, the attorney for the park owner warned Tuesday night that eviction notices could legally be sent to the Palo Alto park’s 400 residents as early as next month, when the closure application is set to be formally approved by the City Council.

The council unanimously voted Tuesday to uphold a September decision by Hearing Officer Craig Labadie to approve the property owner’s Relocation Impact Report, which details the financial compensation owed to each resident, but ordered several revisions. These include a revised appraisal that takes into account the monetary worth of local schools and the safety of the Buena Vista community to its residents.

[Read full story here…]

The Buena Vista Imperative

by Palo Alto Weekly editorial board, Fri, Apr 17, 2015

Constrained by advice from the city attorney aimed at keeping council members narrowly focused on their legal responsibilities, an emotional two evenings of public testimony and council discussion came to an anti-climactic end Tuesday night as the council unanimously gave permission to the owner of Buena Vista Mobile Home Park to close it down.

There was never really any suspense over this outcome, as the City Council’s options were limited to determining the adequacy of the relocation benefits being offered current residents and ensuring compliance with state law and Palo Alto’s mobile-home park closure ordinance. Blocking the park’s closure was never an option, and all agreed that the Jisser family had the right to finally move forward with plans that are more than a decade old.

[Read full editorial here…]

Faces of Buena Vista

In February the Palo Alto High School Verde Magazine presented an article on the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park. Photographer/Photo Editor, Ana Sofia Amieva-Wang, provided us with a glimpse into the soul of this community.

State, federal funds sought to save Buena Vista

Anna Eshoo, Jerry Hill and Rich Gordon join effort to obtain funds for mobile-home park’s preservation

The effort to prevent the closure of Buena Vista Mobile Home Park has spread well beyond the city’s borders in recent weeks, with state Sen. Jerry Hill, state Assemblyman Rich Gordon and U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo all joining the drive to raise money for the park’s preservation.
Hill and Gordon co-signed a letter earlier this month to the California Department of Housing and Community Development asking the agency for assistance in identifying potential sources of funding for preserving what they call “vital affordable housing.” This came weeks after Eshoo submitted a similar request to Julian Castro, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

[Read the full story…]

Feds Pressed for Buena Vista Funds

by Breena Kerr / Daily Post Staff Writer

Local government officials have asked state and federal housing agencies for money to help save Palo Alto’s  last mobile home park.

Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, D-Palo  Alto, State Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, and Assemblyman Rich Gordon have all contacted the secretary of the U.S. Housing and Urban Development to ask for money to keep the 100 units of affordable housing from being closed and likely razed for redevelopment. HUD is a federal agency that
gives housing funds to states.

Seeking solution

“I’m confident we can create a solution that will benefit the families of the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park and allow them to remain in the community that is their home,” Eshoo wrote in her letter to the Secretary of Housing.

The owner of the mobile home park has vowed to close it as soon as the City Council decides whether he has complied with a Palo Alto law that requires him to pay residents to leave.

While both Santa Clara County and the City of Palo Alto have each set $8 million aside to help buy the park, no nonprofits have come forward publicly to pledge money or help.

Local effort

Last week, Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian said he planned to “work the phones” to see if local nonprofits would join in the effort to save Buena Vista.

On Feb. 20, Palo Alto City Manager Jim Keene said that the city would set aside $8 million that the City Council could elect to use to preserve the park.

The decision by Keene came as a surprise to many since council members had not yet made the decision about whether to allow the owner to close the park. A decision is expected in April.

It’s All About the Children

At the rally at City Hall, PTA Director of Legislation Nancy Krop addressed the Council.  “We talk about numbers. We talk about a hundred children. A hundred of our students living in the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park. We’re talking about one of eight students at Barron Park Elementary School losing their homes,” Krop said. “But what is behind those numbers is a child. A child who dreams. A child who has hopes for tomorrow. A child who believes that adults can fix things … Every number is a child.”

Erika Escalante, a long-time Buena Vista resident who graduated from Gunn and became her family’s first college graduate, called the mobile home park an “affordable and safe place to live and to raise our children. I want my son and all the children at Buena Vista to have the same access to education and opportunity I had,”

In their research study on the children and families of Buena Vista, Drs. Donald Barr and Amado Padilla from Stanford University found that there were 67 families with 129 children and all school age children (101) were enrolled in school. Despite a 29.3% drop out rate among Hispanic high school students in Silicon Valley, and 27.6% statewide, not a single Buena Vista student had dropped out of school. “The children liked going to school and they liked their teachers”, said Dr. Padilla. “And all of the parents had attended parent teacher conferences.”

At the closure hearings Dr. Padilla testified that “The people (of Buena Vista) take care of each other. It is a community that watches over its children.”

It’s All About the Children!

* Photos by Richard Man. Additional pictures are available at his website.

PTA Joins Fight to Save Buena Vista

How affluent Palo Alto PTA members are trying to save a working-class enclave

by Scott Herhold / Mercury News
POSTED: 03/11/2015 12:04:12 PM PDT

The rules were strict on Monday. Each of the three speakers could talk for only three minutes. The idea was a quick presentation to the Palo Alto City Council and just as quick an exit. Hit them with your point and move on into the gentle evening.

But no one criticized Nancy Krop, the legislative director of the Sixth District PTA, for talking just a little longer. She is a tall, dark-haired woman with an eloquent way of speaking. And she was addressing a topic that touches the heart, the fate of the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park, a largely Hispanic working class enclave off El Camino Real.

Noting that 100 children attend eight Palo Alto schools from the mobile home park, Krop urged the council to approve $8 million set aside by City Manager Jim Keene to save the park. “What’s behind those numbers is a child, a child who believes that adults can fix things,” she said. As you heard her say that, it made you want to go fix things yourself. [Read full Mercury News article…]

Nancy Krop speaks to the Palo Alto City Council


City Hall Rally for Buena Vista

On March 9th Santa Clara County Supervisor, Joe Simitian, hosted a rally at City Hall to encourage the Palo Alto City Council to set aside funds to preserve the Park.

Buena Vista rally brings hundreds to City Hall

Residents and supporters urge Palo Alto officials to help preserve the mobile-home park

by Gennady Sheyner / Palo Alto Weekly

With a cloud of uncertainty looming over their homes, residents of the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park and hundreds of their supporters rallied at City Hall on Monday to express support for the park’s preservation and to thank Palo Alto officials for recent contributions to that cause.

Holding signs and wearing yellow stickers of support, more than 400 people attended the rally at Kings Plaza on late Monday afternoon. After about 30 minutes of pizza, photos and camaraderie, the tidal wave of Buena Vista supporters then spilled into the Council Chambers, filling every seat and spreading out against the Chamber walls and vestibules for the first few minutes of the meeting. The crowd included children, seniors and every age group in between; neighborhood leaders and school volunteers; staunch slow-growth “residentialists” like Bob Moss and Lydia Kou and board members of Palo Alto Forward, a citizens group which favors more housing and a “vibrant” downtown. [Read full Palo Alto Weekly article…]

Winter Dellenbach, founder of the group Friends of Buena Vista and one of the event’s organizers, voiced a similar sentiment. “One of the purposes was to show the breadth of support,” Dellenbach said. “There can never be, fron this point on, any doubt that this town supports Buena Vista.”

“In 30 years of participating in all manner of petitioning our local government for redress, last night’s crowd of Buena Vista supporters and residents was by far the largest. Just under 550 support stickers were handed out, 1 to a person – a good indicator of attendance on the Plaza.

It was a stunning outpouring of support for a solution that keeps residents here, the children in our schools, affordable housing preserved, and pays the owner for his land. We have much work yet to do, but the momentum is going in the right direction.

Thanks to everyone who participated. It was critical that Council members know we support them in setting aside $8 million of affordable housing funds for Buena Vista.”

Volunteers from the Media Center”s Zoom In Collaborative covered the Rally at Palo Alto City Hall March 9, 2015 where supporters rallied on behalf of the residents of the Buena Vista Mobile Park, home to fifty families and 300 people, one of the last bastions of affordable housing in Palo Alto.

Keene allots $8M toward Buena Vista

Palo Alto city manager sets aside funds for possible purchase of mobile home park, but first council must hear appeal

by Jason Green
Daily News Staff Writer

Palo Alto City Manager James Keene is setting aside $8 million in affordable housing funds to possibly help preserve Buena Vista Mobile Home Park as a source of affordable housing. In a Feb. 19 memo to Mayor Karen Holman and the City Council, Keene said the move was spurred by community members’ concerns about the impacts of the facility’s pending closure on 400 mostly low-income Latino residents.
The council is slated in April to take up an appeal of a hearing officer’s recent ruling that the Jisser family put together an adequate relocation assistance package. Keene said any decision regarding the $8 million would have to be made after the council hears the appeal.
“As you are aware, the council has a responsibility to impartially evaluate all of the issues and refrain from advocating – or appearing to advocate – on any side of this matter,· he wrote in the memo released Friday.
“In light of these constraints on the council,” he continued, “I am directing staff to set aside $8 million in affordable housing funds specifically for use in conjunction with the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park if the council should so direct after the pending appeal has been resolved. [Read full Daily News story…]