A new, large-scale mural, “200 Main Street [an inventory of time and place],” has arrived in downtown Los Altos.
The photographic montage stretches for 30 feet, combining images of people, places, ideas and everyday objects from the past 150-plus years that have contributed to the ever-changing, multifaceted ideas of “home” in Los Altos.
Commissioned by the nonprofit Arts Los Altos and funded by a Rotary Club of Los Altos Legacy Grant, the mural is now permanently installed on the large exterior side wall of Satura Cakes on Third Street.
“200 Main Street” is the brainchild of Palo Alto-based Martha Sakellariou, a visual artist who employs interdisciplinary, collaborative and public engagement practices to create site-specific multimedia installations. The mural invites viewers to seek iconic images in its details and put themselves in the scene with multiple photo ops. A QR code on the mural enables viewers to find out more about each image in the mural – its identity, timing, locale and role in the history of Los Altos.
“Like all my work, this work is about home and its many meanings … the history, objects, images, perspectives that represent what we think of as home and, specifically, about living in Los Altos,” Sakellariou said. “This work reflects some of the history – the known and unknown, the things we understand and things we may not understand – all to make us more curious about our community and, at the same time, to feel more connected to each other and our shared history and experiences.”
According to Sakellariou, local resources like the Los Altos History Museum were “essential partners” in the research for the mural.
Arts Los Altos selected an artist for the project using a “call for art” proposal process – “to reinterpret the original Apple logo design from 1976 in which Isaac Newton is shown sitting underneath the iconic apple tree, paying homage to not only the famous technology company that originated in Los Altos, but to also have it reflect the city and its residents” – that generated entries from eight artists. Arts Los Altos has identified a number of potential locations for future projects where the other artists’ work might be featured.
An official unveiling with the artist is scheduled at the mural site 5:30-7:30 p.m. May 26. The event is open to all local residents, including Rotarians, Arts Los Altos’ donors, those who contributed historical objects and relevant local information, and all who helped support the execution of the project.
Sakellariou earned a Master of Fine Arts from the Royal College of Art in London and bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the National Athens School of Fine Art in Greece. Born in Athens, she lived and worked in London before moving to California in 2013.
Sakellariou has a studio at Palo Alto’s Cubberley Artist Studio Program. During the pandemic, she painted a series of murals on residential garage doors, opening up new visions of interior spaces during the quarantine. To view them, visit marthasakellariou.com/paloaltomurals.