Stanford Report Online

Stanford Report, April 3, 2002
Cardinal Chronicle / weekly campus column


WHEN UNIVERSITY COMMUNICATIONS approached the East Palo Alto Mural ART Project, a nonprofit organization that employs teens to create murals for local schools, about doing an artwork for Community Day, the students were asked to express their feelings about their relationship to Stanford, said associate director KATE CHESLEY. "Community Day isn't just about what Stanford has to offer its neighbors. We wanted to make it more of a two-way conversation," she said. Over the last weeks, 27 teens from East Palo Alto and east Menlo Park spoke out in oil and acrylic, creating a 10-by-5-foot mural dominated by a tangle of white lilies partly obscuring an ornate fence. Inside the fence is Hoover Tower and Stanford's sandstone facade. Outside is an African American youth, with his arms crossed and wearing a guarded expression. The teens who worked on the mural haven't exactly had a perfect relationship with Stanford University, said SONJA CLARK-HERRERA, project director. "Stanford is a beautiful entity -- and not as attainable to these kids," she said. But look closer, and you'll see that the artists have left a gate open, she said. "There seems to be a message of hope, that the relationship can be better and that fence can come down," Chesley said. Fifteen of the young artists, who were trained by community muralist OMAR RAMIREZ, will be at Community Day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to talk with visitors about the mural and the project. After April 7, the artwork, painted on canvas on stretcher bars, will be available for display elsewhere on campus, Chesley said. "I'd like to find a good home for this artwork. We'd like it to go to someone who will appreciate it." If you know of a likely spot, e-mail Chesley at

LELAND STANFORD JR., SON OF UNIVERSITY founders JANE and LELAND STANFORD, was such a hard-working collector -- he did research at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York when he was 15 -- that KRISTEN OLSON, educational services coordinator for the Cantor Center, said she sometimes forgets that he was just a little boy. Delving into Leland Jr.'s letters and the logbooks where he recorded purchases, Olson researched a new brochure, Leland Jr. and His Travels, that will debut at the Cantor Center Sunday, April 7. The passport-style brochure is designed to introduce children to the museum's treasures; Leland Jr.'s collections of antiquities and ethnological artifacts were the nucleus of the museum that opened on campus in 1894. Each page will send users to a different collection, Olson said: to the Ancient Mediterranean gallery to see a pair of alabaster canopic jars used to store livers and intestines that were buried with mummies in ancient Egypt, to the Asian gallery in search of a Japanese warrior costume or to the Native American gallery for a beaded Sioux knife case. ("Little Leland" liked to collect weaponry, Olson said.) The new brochure illustrates how the museum's collections, now greatly expanded, can be traced back to the enthusiasms of a precocious adolescent, Olson said. The free brochures are available to visitors of all ages in the museum's two lobbies.

WEAR YOUR BLOOMERS IF YOU HAVE THEM, advises campus bicycle coordinator ARIADNE SCOTT, who is helping organize the re-creation of a historic picture of the "Encina Wheelmen," a group of derby-hatted, bow-tied students who were photographed with their high-wheel bicycles in front of Encina Hall in 1891. The photo shoot will take place Sunday during Community Day in front of Encina Hall and will include the members of a local cycling group who are bringing vintage and reproduction high-wheel bicycles to campus for exhibition races from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Cobb Track. Among the riders will be Parking and Transportation Services Manager BRODIE HAMILTON, a veteran high-wheeler. (The hard part is getting on the bicycle, he said.) The high-wheelers will be part of a 2:30 p.m. procession to the Mausoleum for the Founders' Celebration, and will assemble for the photo shoot at about 4:30 p.m. All are welcome to don vintage attire and join in, Scott said.

MARTIN PERL, PROFESSOR AT THE STANFORD Linear Accelerator Center and winner of the 1995 Nobel Prize in physics, showed up at another awards show this year. In a film montage that opened the 74th annual Oscars March 24, Perl was sandwiched in between Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown and chef Alice Waters and just ahead of Wavy Gravy in a long list of luminaries talking about their favorite films. "My first favorite movie was Flying Down to Rio," Perl said later. "I saw it in the early 1930s. I come from a comfortable, middle-class, Brooklyn family, very serious -- get good marks in school, get a steady job, settle down in Brooklyn. But I wanted to get out of Brooklyn even at age 7 or 8. How wonderful to be able to take a plane and fly down to Rio, singing and dancing as you go!" His all-time favorites, though, are Charlie Chan detective movies. "Chan's proverbs are amazingly applicable to doing scientific research when you are an experimenter, as I am," he said. Like, "One grain of luck sometimes worth more than a rice field of wisdom."

HERB FONG, GROUNDS MANAGER AND resident horticultural guru, will give his annual hourlong "Campus Tree Walk and Talk" on Friday, April 5. Fong is launching the walk from the White Plaza fountain at noon.

Write to Barbara Palmer at or mail code 2245 or call her at 724-6184.

Barbara Palmer