Aurora the Willow Leaves Palo Alto

Join us in saying farewell to Aurora as it ends its stay in Palo Alto, California.

Festivities for Aurora‘s closing reception party will take place Saturday, September 26 at the Palo Alto City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave, 6:30 -­ 8:30 p.m. However, the lights will remain on until Friday, October 2. This event is free and open to the public. There will be performance art, DJs, and fun for all ages!


Almost two years ago, two local Palo Alto children, Sam and Julia Hirschman, took interest in sharing this favorite work of theirs with the broader public. With the help of their father, Harry Hirschman, the artist, Charles Gadeken, Burning Man Arts’ Civic Arts Program, and Palo Alto’s Public Art Commission, they rallied support for the installation of the piece at Palo Alto’s City Hall. Soon, more children joined them in their effort, creating a group of “Aurora Kids”. Several downtown businesses and private donors were compelled to chip in the remaining funds needed to install the piece. The Aurora Kids are an outstanding example of grassroots community initiative and City collaboration. Congrats to this crew for making this public installation a huge success!

First debuted at Black Rock City in 2011, Aurora is an opalescent willow tree with hand-­beaten copper leaves that chime in the wind. At night, Aurora runs a full color light display that changes with the seasons. An interactive mobile app allows the public to play with the tree, modifying the color and pattern of 40,000 LED lights that bring the tree to life and making it an ever-changing, collaborative work of public art. Aurora captured the heart of Palo Alto’s distinctive social and cultural history as a thriving center for innovation, art, and technology. Its presence was greatly appreciated, and it will be missed!

Top image: Aurora in BRC in 2011, photo by Luke Szczepanski

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