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Blach School Mural gallery

One of my favorite local places for art is the Blach School's mural gallery. (An older version of their site that talked about the creation of the gallery is archived at Wayback Machine.) Blach is a middle school in Los Altos. Under the direction of some of their art teachers, the students have painted more than 70 reproductions of great masters on the exterior walls of the school.

I hope this won't be thought too irreverant, but the reason I like the gallery (besides that it's close enough to home that I often go that way when roller-blading with my dog) is that the reproductions are good enough to remind you of the originals. The students, unsurprisingly, don't succeed in reproducing the techniques of the masters, so the viewer has to already know the original in order to remember why it's considered a great work.

The works are from a large number of styles: portraits, landscapes, impressionist, cubist, still lifes, Japanese silk screen, etc. The Mona Lisa's smile isn't quite tantalizing enough; the impressionists are rendered as if they hadn't revolutionized art with their technique; You can't see individual brush strokes on any of them.

The art is in your mind

The photos at Blach's web site are too lo-res to show the effect I'm talking about. Like all great art, you have to see it in person. Blach is on Covington in Los Altos, near Grant Road. The gallery is open to public viewing rain or shine, free of charge all day on weekends and after 3 pm on weekdays.

In the summer of 2001, a project was started to do some serious renovation of the school. It took me a while to figure out what they were doing, and that the murals were at risk. I took pictures on July 16 and 30, and it took me until 1/13/02 to get them organized and online. I've been taking photos as they've added more murals since then, but I haven't been uploading them regularly. As of July 2012 the collection is up-to-date again. Here are my photos of the Blach murals.

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