NEST: Creating Home

At a time when “home” is being redefined in the Bay Area, Filoli’s three-part exhibition will tell the compelling story of immigration and migration. The exhibition will weave together the formal and informal places in the estate, and explore the behind-the-scenes activities of the people who lived and worked at Filoli.

The People of Filoli

The People of Filoli exhibition tells the stories of key staff in the House – butlers, maids, ladies’ maids – as well as chauffeurs, chefs, gardeners and others who migrated to the area in support of this working estate. They did not each live in isolation, but rather created their own home built from different cultures, different languages, and different beliefs for a common goal.

While creating a new home in a new land, they raised families, built community, shared the responsibility and the result. They grew their own food, planned and scheduled deliveries of necessities and gave back to the community at large. Through a display in the House and guided tour these newly uncovered stories will be brought to life.



Sara Friedlander
American Women: Birds of im/Migration

Inspired by her own grandmother’s immigration journey, Santa Cruz based artist Sara Friedlander has created visual narratives to honor the courageous women who left their homeland and families, often under great duress. Each of the mixed media panels highlights the journey of an im/migrant woman. Most spoke no English and holding steadfast to their hopes for a brighter future, faced daunting challenges in order to establish a new life in America.



W. Gary Smith
Nests: Patterns from Nature

W. Gary Smith is one of North America’s leading landscape architects. He is also an artist with a simple mission—creating meaningful encounters between people, plants, and the natural world. Gary’s exhibition at Filoli features forms inspired by both patterns in nature and nesting animals. All the materials come from the Filoli Estate—from wind-felled native oak trees, to plane tree branches gathered from the formal Garden. For this project Gary is hosted, in part, by Santa Clara University as a Visiting Artist for the Center for the Arts and Humanities.




Nest: Creating Home will also be accompanied by a series of monthly lectures taking place at the Filoli Visitor Center. Lectures are free for members. For non-members lectures are $5, plus the cost admission to Filoli. Registration for summer lectures is available at More dates and times will be announced soon for fall lectures.