Arts

This trip needs no ticket: journey through art at the Foster

photo credit: Trevor Burrows, courtesy of the Foster Art and Wilderness Center

If you want evidence that art can be a transporting experience, look no further than the Foster Art & Wilderness Foundation, located near Charleston Road in Palo Alto. This new exhibit and event space, filled with the gorgeous and visually arresting landscapes of artist Tony Foster, aims to inspire visitors to explore the wild corners of the earth and to protect their fragile ecosystems.

Painting by Tony Foster as part of the Exploring Beauty exhibit. Image courtesy of the Foster Art & Wilderness Foundation.

Painting by Tony Foster as part of the Exploring Beauty exhibit. Image courtesy of the Foster Art & Wilderness Foundation.

A resident of Cornwall, England, Foster travels to remote parts of the world for weeks at a time to capture the colors, textures and sights of each specific landscape. He has been creating his unique pieces since 1982 and shows no sign of slowing down at age 70, even though his approach often involves kayaking, hiking and even scuba diving to places where he endures cold, wind, snow and more. He never photographs the views he wants to capture and instead strives to paint as much as he can while on location.

Tony Foster at Mt. Everest. Photo credit: Mike Nathan. Image courtesy of the Foster Art and Wilderness Foundation.

Tony Foster painting at Mt. Everest. Photo credit: Mike Nathan. Image courtesy of the Foster Art and Wilderness Foundation.

What’s the connection to Palo Alto?

Jane Woodward, founder of the Foster Art & Wilderness Foundation. Photo credit: Stanford University

Jane Woodward, founder of the Foster Art & Wilderness Foundation. Photo credit: Stanford University

Two words: Jane Woodward. The founder and CEO of MAP and alumna of Stanford, Jane first encountered Tony Foster’s work at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC in 1987. With Jane’s training as a geologist, she appreciated not just the arresting beauty of Tony’s work but also how accurately he portrayed the natural worlds he painted. Jane became Tony’s biggest patron and continued to collect his pieces for the next 20 years.

With a desire to keep Foster’s painting collections together as the ‘journeys’ they are intended to invoke, Jane began planning for the new exhibit space in 2011 and opened it in Palo Alto in February 2016. She serves on the Foster Foundation’s board and oversees its management.

A mission to engage and inspire visitors

The Foster Art & Wilderness Foundation is open to the public for free tours by appointment, and offers free space for local nonprofits to host events and meetings. With its Palo Alto location, the Foster Art & Wilderness Foundation hopes to be a hub for people who are passionate about art, the environment or both.

Bridging the gap between reality and illusion through art

“It struck me that people are becoming utterly dependent on a technological fix, which is increasing the gap between the reality and the illusion of the world,” Tony Foster said in a recent interview. “I wanted to assert the idea that if you put your iPad down and go out and spend time away from all the urban temptations, you find extraordinary things.”

The Foster Art & Wilderness Foundation is located in south Palo Alto. Photo credit: The Foster

The Foster Art & Wilderness Foundation offers free tours upon appointment and is located in south Palo Alto. Photo credit: The Foster

How to visit the Foster Art & Wilderness Foundation

  • Open House on October 16 from 1-4pm. Make a reservation here.
  • Meet Tony Foster on November 3rd in Palo Alto from 5-7pm. Make a reservation here.

All events are located at 940 Commercial Street in Palo Alto. To learn more or to schedule a private tour, contact mattias@thefoster.org or call 650.209.7181.

Tony Foster in Denali National Park. Photo credit: Luca Bovio, courtesy of Foster Art & Wilderness Foundation

Tony Foster in Denali National Park. Photo credit: Luca Bovio, courtesy of Foster Art & Wilderness Foundation

About the author

Victoria Thorp

Victoria Thorp

Victoria is the founder and editor of Palo Alto Pulse and has lived in Palo Alto since 2007. Victoria's diverse professional background includes working as the editor of GreatSchools.org , as a senior writer for KIPP and Teach for America, and as a radio producer for City Visions on KALW (91.7FM San Francisco). She is a graduate of Leadership Palo Alto and a member of the Palo Alto Partners in Education Advisory Board.

She has a BA in English from Tufts University and Masters in Education and Secondary Teaching Credential in English from UCLA.

Leave a Comment