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October 12, 2010 > Days of the Dead at Meek Mansion

Days of the Dead at Meek Mansion

Submitted By Heather Mellon

For the second year in a row, Hayward Area Historical Society is bringing a spectacular Day of the Dead celebration to the Hayward area. Days of the Dead 2010: Folk Art for the Third Millennium will be on exhibit in Cherryland's Meek Mansion from October 9th through November 14th. Curated by Fernando Hernandez, the Hayward-based artist and educator who brought us last year's exhibit, Folk Art for the Third Millennium, will be a cultural and spiritual experience that draws inspiration from both ancient and modern sources. Fernando leads the East Bay Art Collaborative, a group of artists he first brought together ten years ago to explore funerary customs and memorial art in works for Days of the Dead.

As visitors discovered last year, the historic Meek Mansion setting contributes a dimension unlike any other Day of the Dead installation. This year's exhibit will feature art and altars on both the first and second floors. Hayward Area Historical Society will be creating a memorial to the Meek family in William Meek's bedroom. His wife, Fidelia Meek's funeral was held in the ballroom. Her casket lay near the large coffin window, a Victorian age architectural passage way reserved for the dead to protect the everyday portals from the stigma of death.

The feature is one example of how magnificently the mansion serves as a temporary home for Days of the Dead. The exhibit will be open to the public Thursdays and Fridays from 3 to 7 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from Noon to 5 p.m. Tickets are $6 general admission, $5 for members, and $3 for seniors over 65, students, and children. Children 5 and under, accompanied by an adult are free. School tour bookings are available Monday through Friday from 9 to 5 p.m. Teachers may call the Education Department at (510) 581-0223 to reserve a time.

Hayward Area Historical Society will again partner with Hayward Area Recreation and Park District to present a free Day of the Dead Community Celebration in Meek Park on Saturday, October 16 starting at 11 a.m. Over 1,200 people enjoyed themselves at last year's celebration. Festivities include the performance of an original Day of the Dead play produced by Chabot College's Department of Theater, a moving ceremony with Aztec dancers welcoming the dead from all directions in a beautiful ritual, and a full afternoon of Latin music and dance performances including Hayward's Mariachi de Juvenil, and Grupo Folklorico Tlapalli. This year will also feature more food and arts and crafts vendors and, of course, many fun activities for kids and families.

For more information call HAHS at (510) 581-0223, or visit the HAHS website at Meek Mansion and Park are located at Hampton and Boston Roads between Mission Boulevard and Meekland Avenue just north of downtown Hayward. The event is made possible in part by AT&T, UBS Financial Services, and Alameda County Arts Commission.

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