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Five Fun Things to do Today in Menlo Park

From City Council meetings to multimedia contests.

New Exhibit at Portola Art Gallery

There is a new exhibit opening today at Portola Art Gallery. Atmosphere and Land is a a new collection of work by Mark Monsarrat. Monsarrat is an award-winning San Francisco plein-air and studio painter. The exhibit features his paintings from the San Francisco Peninsula and beyond, both large paintings and smaller works.  The exhibit runs through March 29. There will be a reception with the artist Saturday from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Portola Art Gallery at 75 Arbor Road.The gallery is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  For more information call the gallery at (650) 650-321-0220, or the artist at (650) 321-0229.

Kepler's Reading Tonight tells a Tale of a Very Special Child

 As a child, did you ever wonder what it would be like if you had special gifts? That might gain you access to royalty? A king or a queen or maybe a sultan? Author Michael David Lukas explores just that and lets his imagination run wild in his new novel, "The Oracle of Stamboul," about a precocious child who becomes adviser to the sultan. His reading and book signing is free tonight at 7 pm. at Kepler’s Books, 1010 El Camino Real.  For more information, call Pam Grange at (650) 324-4321 or e-mail pam@keplers.com.

City Council Meeting tonight

The Housing Authority will be a special focus of  tonight’s meeting.  The council will consider adopting a measure that will give the city’s new Housing Authority control over certain properties that had been under the domain of the Community Development Agency. As always there will be time for public comment during the first half hour after the meeting starts and at the conclusion of the session. The council meets tonight at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers at 701 Laurel St.

Humane Planet Multimedia Contest

The is holding a multimedia contest for high school students to come up with a new look on some of the critical animal welfare issues facing us today. The competition is open to participants aged 14 to 18 and is wide open to your imagination. Participants can submit a short film, a public serve announcement of both.The Humane Society wants your perspective. Deadline to submit your entry is March 17.  is s at 520 Santa Cruz Ave. For more information about the Humane Society call (650) 424-1901 or email pahs@paloaltohumane.org. For more information about the multimedia competition, visit the contest website.

Creating A Sense of Place

A marathon design session will take place all-day Saturday downtown in an event sponsored by The City of Menlo Park and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) SanMateo County. From 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Saturday, 100 design professionals and 20 architecture students will break out into four design teams to address four projects in the area surrounding the intersection of Willow Road and Bayfront Expressway. Charrette comes from the French word for "cart" but over the years it has come to mean an intense design project. The teams will be working all day. The public is invited to the opening event at 8:30 a.m. where the project will be explained and the closing starting at 6:30 p.m., where the day's work will be presented. For more information contact David R. Johnson, City of Menlo Park Business Development Manager, at (650) 330.6600 or drjohnson@menlopark.org.

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