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April 29, 2009 > The past inspires the present

The past inspires the present

Art and History team up

The Hayward Area Historical Society, Hayward Arts Council, and Hayward Area Recreation District are teaming up May 2 and 3 to produce "The Art of History," a special weekend gala and free family activities focusing on art, architecture, and history at the historic Meek Estate in Hayward.

The core of the event is a new art exhibit of paintings by local artists who have been invited to show art works depicting Victorian-era homes and heritage subjects around the East Bay. The exhibit will be presented inside the Meek Mansion, which is currently being restored by the Hayward Area Historical Society (HAHS). "The Art of History" is designed to raise awareness about the restoration plans and funding needs for returning the Meek Mansion to its original design and condition. The house is a local architectural treasure that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

"The Art of History" begins Saturday evening, May 2 with a special gala fundraiser and preview of the art exhibit at the Meek Mansion from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Proceeds from the gala will go toward the continued restoration of the Meek Mansion. While enjoying wine, hors d'oeuvres and music, guests will be able to preview the exhibit, mingle with the artists, and tour the mansion. A silent art auction, that includes a work by renowned water color artist Clarice Roberts, will also be held. Tickets are $50 and can be reserved by calling HAHS at (510) 581-0223.

Sunday May 3, from Noon to 4 p.m. will be a free Family Day in the Park. The day's events include the continuing art exhibit inside the mansion, and an opportunity to watch local artists painting in the open air. Throughout the afternoon there will be free family and children art activities making small ceramics, dolls, stamps and more.

Free history programs will also take place, including a talk on restoring historic architectural buildings by Peter Birkholz from Page and Turnbull, an architectural firm renowned for historic restoration, the story of the Meek family by HAHS curator Diane Curry, and a walking tour of the park to learn about the park's horticultural legacy. Kids can also sign up for an outdoor "History Hunt" where they can win prizes by discovering some of the special historic features of Meek Park. Tours of the house will also be offered at nominal fees with all proceeds going towards restoration of the house.

William Meek, an agricultural pioneer, built the Meek Mansion in 1869. Along with his family and business partners, Meek helped established many important civic and institutional enterprises in the East Bay. Today the house and its immediate surroundings comprise a beloved park known as the Meek Estate. This oasis is in the midst of the urban communities that grew up over the years to occupy the vast acreage once covered by Meek's fruit orchards. The Meek Mansion is an architectural treasure built at the height of Victorian fashion, but with many features that make it a unique American masterpiece.

For more information about "The Art of History", call HAHS at (510) 581-0223.

Meek Park is located at 240 Hampton Rd., in the Cherryland community immediately north of Hayward. From downtown Hayward travel north on Mission Blvd., and west on Hampton Road. The park entrance is on Boston Street.

The Art of History Gala
Saturday, May 2
7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Tickets: $50

Family Day in the Park
Sunday, May 3
Noon to 4 p.m.
Meek Park
240 Hampton Rd., Hayward
(510) 581-0223

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