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griot grid

posted 12.10.2016

updated by: itzeldiaz

How do you make the future inclusive?
(Oakland, CA.) On December 1 surrounded by a mix of dignitaries and community members in Peralta
Hacienda’s crowded Center for History and Community, Cal State University East Bay president Leroy
Morishita shared his vision for the new partnership between and the
university and the historic site. He emphasized that the most important
learning experiences often take place outside of the classroom. The
university is turning away from the lecture format and towards project- and
community-based learning.

posted Mo.nt.2016

updated by: itzeldiaz

Fruitvale Arts-based Community Development Investment for Oakland, California
Oakland, CA - National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Jane Chu announced 64 awards totaling $4.3 million supporting projects across the nation through the NEA’s Our Town program. Peralta Hacienda Historical Park is one of the organizations for an award of $50,000 to design and rebuild the historic core. The NEA Our Town grant program supports creative placemaking projects that help to transform communities into lively, beautiful, and resilient places with the arts at their core. The NEA received 240 applications for Our Town this year.

“For six years, Our Town has made a difference for people and the places where they live, work, and play,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Projects such as the one led by Peralta Hacienda Historical Park help residents engage the arts to spark vitality in their communities.”

This project will build the Historic Core at Peralta Hacienda Historical Park, a six-acre historic site in the diverse, low-income district of Fruitvale, in Oakland, California. The project designer is Walter Hood, Landscape Architect.

The whole is a two-acre plaza for community events, performances, markets, classes, courses, workshops, exhibitions and food celebrations:

• The project includes a gallery without walls called the Pavilion of California Cultures to celebrate community stories in many media with a unique design with panels that close to form an indoor space for receptions and events, and can be switched easily for new displays by artists and community groups.

• The project will commemorate the first Mexican family in the Oakland area, the Peraltas, with an evocative, symbolic, walk-in structure with interactive installations at the site of their adobe home, which is located in the Historic Core.

• The project is crowned with a massive community banquet table where community members can cook and eat together, exchanging food traditions, and an authentic adobe oven.

• The plaza’s stage will be enhanced with state of the art outdoor lighting and sound capacity for performances and cultural celebrations.

posted 06.04.2016

updated by: itzeldiaz

(Oakland, CA.) Celebrate Latino culture on June 25 from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm at Peralta Hacienda Historical Park during the Latino Culture Festival, Fruitvale First! Enjoy the classic car show, folklorico dance performances, Aztec dancers, Cuban rumba, salsa and live music. Participate in the dance contest and win passes to Great America, all are welcome to participate. Do not miss it! Peralta Hacienda Historical Park is located at 2465 34th Ave. Oakland, CA 94601.

The festival is the grand finale of a series of events, funded by the American Library Association and the National Endowment for the Humanities, it is one of 200 projects nationwide. It is a long tribute to Latino culture, recognizing the growing Latino population in the US and its influence. Fruitvale is the Latin Quarter in Oakland with a majority of Latino residents and a strong Latino identity amid the dazzling diversity of the district.

The festival will highlight the Latino diversity in the Fruitvale, expanding people’s image of what it means to be Latino. The various dance presentations and demonstrations will unveil Fruitvale’s cultural richness and authenticity, as well as the neighborhood’s sense of community. Many Fruitvale’s community members from different backgrounds have come together to make this festival possible; each one of them sharing their culture with the rest.

posted Mo.nt.2015

updated by: itzeldiaz

Will the Crow escape Sin City without losing his Pit Bull brother to violence? “How I Use Drama with Youth in Juvenile Detention”
Oakland, CA. November, 2015—Norman Gee will discuss how he uses drama with youth in juvenile detention as part of a larger event in a series about California prisons at Peralta Hacienda entitled “Home and Away: Oakland, California Prisons and the Geography of the Heart.“
The event will take place Nov 21 at 130 at Peralta Hacienda Historical Park in Fruitvale, and will feature Gee, Oakland actor and dramatist, and community member Gwen Jackson, as well as author Linda Norton, who is writing a book in about the effect of incarceration on Oakland communities under a Creative Work Fund grant. The audience will have the chance to talk back, ask questions, and tell their own stories.

“The police took me out to the car, as if they were going to lock me up, and made the proposition to have sex with them…Prison was like being in a slave camp. All black girls. We worked during the day picking cotton.”—Gwen Jackson.

Jackson was incarcerated repeatedly as a young girl in the South and found ways out of the cycle. She believes memories of the past in the South affect relationships between the community and the police in Oakland today.
Norton and community members have created collages from historical photos from the Library of Congress to form Home and Away’s visual display in the Peralta House Museum of History and Community. Following the presentation on Nov 21, the audience will be invited to create their own written and visual pieces to add. Each participant can choose historical photos that are pinned to a giant horse sculpture in the historic house museum to create a collage, or they can create a poem. The exhibit will grow throughout the year through a series of similar events.

posted 09.26.2015

updated by: itzeldiaz

Allá en el Rancho Grande/Out There on the Big Ranch
On Oct 10th, 2:30-5:30 pm, at Peralta Hacienda in Oakland’s Fruitvale, join the community for “Allá en el Rancho Grande”, or, in English “Out There on the Big Ranch,” the launch of a year of activities celebrating the national initiative Latino Americans: 500 Years of History.

Peralta Hacienda is one of 200 organizations across the U.S. chosen to participate through public events, screenings and other cultural activities, with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association.

“Allá en el rancho grande” is a famous folk song about Mexican ranching traditions. There will be plenty to see, hear, do, and eat that day for all ages.

At 2:30 pm, UC Berkeley’s Alex Saragoza welcomes you to tour the outdoor mockup of a new exhibit: a 240 foot long extravaganza showing the new design for the site’s Historic Core where Latino history in the East Bay will come to life, intermingled with a wealth of diverse community voices. All ages will have the chance to become actively involved, drawing and writing their own aspirations for the site and for Oakland, and telling their own stories.

Live music and food will accompany all on their explorations.

At 4 pm, “Foreigners in Their Own Land” will screen. This is the first film of the Latino American PBS series Latino Americans: The 500-Year Legacy That Shaped a Nation, which this year’s national initiative seeks to highlight through free showings. Series producer Rick Telles will lead a lively Q and A after the film.
Kids ‘maker’ activities from the old rancho will be in full swing on the Historic Core, to give you a chance to watch the film.

The film will help viewers understand the global and statewide changes surrounding the Peralta story here in Oakland—how they came from Mexico (then called New Spain), took over the coastal landscape of Alta California with other Spanish-speaking settlers as part of the Spanish imperial plan, became prosperous farmers and ranchers after Mexican independence from Spain, and then lost their land, language, and way of life after the US takeover.

posted 06.26.2015

updated by: itzeldiaz

The Habitat Conservation Fund grant is making ACE Camp possible for the next four years!
Peralta Hacienda Historical Park has been selected to receive a competitive Habitat Conservation Fund grant of $20,000 per year for four years from the California State Department of Parks and Recreation. The Bayer Local Foundation and the San Francisco Foundation are providing matching funds for the first year.

As one of 42 grant recipients selected from across the state, Peralta Hacienda Historical Park will hold public programming with a focus on wildlife area activities such as nature tours for all ages every spring, and summer environmental education camps for youth every summer.
As part of this program, Peralta Hacienda will host Camp A.C.E. (Arts, Culture and Environment) for six weeks this summer, for children aged 5-15. They learn about the natural world and nutrition, as well as about each other’s cultures through storytelling with neighborhood elders and a reading program using Oakland Tales, a recently published book that features Peralta Hacienda in its romp through Oakland history.

The program will initiate and expand the appreciation and knowledge of urban youth about plants and animals in and near Peralta Hacienda, including a rich variety of birds, land and water insects, worms, native and riparian plants, and bacteria, and how human beings affect wildlife. Youth mentors aged 16-21 from three youth employment programs will learn leadership and teaching skills from Director Diane Wang and Science Education specialist Beto Brancho as they mentor the younger kids throughout the camp. The kids also get to go on special field trips to other nature areas. The youth mentors come from the Mayor’s summer jobs program, Lao Family Community Development and the Unity Council. All programs will be free and open to the public. See the website for details

posted 06.25.2015

updated by: itzeldiaz

Latino Americans: 500 Years of History
Peralta Hacienda Historical Park has been selected to receive a competitive Latino Americans: 500 Years of History grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the American Library Association (ALA).
As one of 203 grant recipients selected from across the country, CAHC will receive a cash grant of $10,000 to hold public programming — such as public film screenings, discussion groups, oral history initiatives, local history exhibitions, multi-media projects or performances — about Latino history and culture.
Peralta Hacienda will also receive the six-part, NEH-supported documentary film “Latino Americans,” created for PBS in 2013 by the WETA public television station. The award-winning series chronicles the history of Latinos in the United States from the 16th century to present day.

Peralta Hacienda will partner with StoryCorps and Radio KALW, the Oakland Heritage Alliance, the Street Level Health Collective, the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail and the African American Museum and Library of Oakland to host and publicize the Latino Americans programs. All programs will be free and open to the public. A full schedule of events will be available in August.
“Latino Americans are the country’s largest minority group, with more than 50 million people, and still many people are unaware of their rich and varied history and culture,” said Holly Alonso, executive director of Friends of Peralta Hacienda Historical Park. “I’m thrilled that Peralta Hacienda has this opportunity to explore this topic in our community.”

The Latino Americans: 500 Years of History grantees represent 42 states and the District of Columbia, and include 78 public libraries, 68 college/university libraries and organizations, 19 community college libraries, 10 state humanities councils, 12 museums and a range of other nonprofit organizations.

Latino Americans: 500 Years of History is part of an NEH initiative, The Common Good: The Humanities in the Public Square.

About the National Endowment for the HumanitiesNational Endowment for the Humanities 50th anniversary logo

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available

About the American Library AssociationAmerican Library Association logo

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with approximately 58,000 members in academic, public, school, government and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.

posted Mo.nt.2015

updated by: itzeldiaz

Home and Away: Oakland California’s Prisons, and the Geography of the Heart!
(Oakland, CA) On June 12 at 2:30pm, Friends of Peralta Hacienda Historical Park and writer Linda Norton are starting a series of workshops and interviews as part of Home & Away: Oakland California’s Prisons, and the Geography of the Heart; a hybrid exhibit that will document the effects of mass incarceration on Fruitvale’s community in Oakland.

Home & Away: Oakland California’s Prisons, and the Geography of the Heart will explore the connections between those who remain in the neighborhood and those who are “away,” behind bars. Fruitvale’s community members and museum visitors are invited to make additions to the exhibit in the Peralta House Museum throughout the year through writing, photos and collages they make and bring; adding to visuals created by writer and artist Linda Norton. Linda Norton and Peralta Hacienda hope to create a healing aspect by bringing these stories to light and showing what the rise of the prison state in California actually means to individuals and

Additional workshops will be help on Fridays July 10th, 17th & 24th 2:30 pm-5:00 pm.

Home & Away: Oakland California’s Prisons, and the Geography of the Heart is made possible
by the generous support of the Creative Work Fund.

posted Mo.nt.2015

updated by: itzeldiaz

The Art Walk
On May 6 at 11:00 am, The Athena Project invites Fruitvale community members to join the ART WALK, an interpretative stroll through the most diverse neighborhood in Oakland.

The Students and Fruitvale community members will walk from Paseo de la Fuente in the Fruitvale BART Transit Village, where a mural designed by the students hangs, to Peralta Hacienda Historical Park. Art by ARISE high school students will adorn the pathway. The ART WALK will connect Fruitvale’s transit hub to Peralta Hacienda, the birthplace of Oakland.

posted 03.11.2015

updated by: itzeldiaz

NEH offers Challenge Grant to Peralta Hacienda
The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has offered the Peralta Hacienda Historical Park a
Challenge Grant to build the Historic Core of the Park. This area, now vacant, is the Park’s most historically significant area. The area includes the site where the 1821 and 1840 Peralta adobes once stood, of which no physical traces remain.

Two historical features in the area of potential effect (APE) that are physically present are an archaeological deposit and an underground well. As proposed, the Historic Core project will preserve and interpret the Peralta adobes, the well, and the archaeological deposits.

The Historic Core proposed project includes outdoor interpretative features regarding the history of the site. Built elements will include outdoor displays, a flexible shade structure, an archaeological deposit viewing station, a community picnic table, and adobe oven and grill. In addition, an enclosure with seating will be created and the Historic Core area will be paved.

posted 02.13.2013

updated by: Chris

What I Hear, I Keep: Stories from Oakland's Griots
On February 23rd, Peralta Hacienda House Museum of Community and History will come alive through a magnificent visual and audio art installation featuring the voices of a group of African American Oaklanders who recorded the stories of their lives through the Griot Initiative of StoryCorps, a national nonprofit oral history project. The word “griot” (pronounced gree-oh) comes from the West African tradition of storytellers who perpetuate the oral tradition and history of a village or family.

The griots in this case are the gifted storytellers of Oakland's African American community. Their voices emanate from a gigantic horse glowing from within, designed and built by African American sculptor and landscape architect, Walter Hood, inside the 1870 Victorian house at the site. Holly Alonso designed the audio for all 30 stories which will cycle over a three-hour period. Visitors will attach their own messages in response to the audible personal memories of identity, connection with others and distances traveled. This exhibit is being done in collaboration with the Oakland Public Libraries, whose staff has created a reading list to explore the themes in the stories.

Hood chose the symbol of the horse in collaboration with the three dozen people who came forward to tell their stories. The animal epitomizes beauty and strength, and suggests the journeys traveled on many levels by African Americans. It also links the stories to the Peralta House location; two thousand horses once lived on the Peralta cattle ranch (granted by the Spanish governor in1820) which covered all of Oakland, Berkeley, and five other East Bay cities.

The interviews tell about the pluses and minuses of segregation, rituals to commemorate the Black Holocaust, combating racism in major league baseball, the De Fermery Recreation Center community, the heyday of KJAZ, the Black Native community, the Black Panthers, and many other iconic Oakland events and figures. Malcolm Westbrooks, one of the featured griots remembers what it was like to grow up here as a child born after World War II, “The best part [of my neighborhood] was that sense of community …at 8 or 9 years old I could leave Saturday morning and go play on the railroad tracks or in the creeks and we were safe.”

The creators and staff invite the public to listen and add their own stories to this interactive installation of narratives from African American residents as they shine a light on the East Bay’s past while exploring themes that are relevant to all who live in Oakland.

The opening of the exhibit and gala reception for “What I Hear, I Keep” is on Saturday, February 23 from 2:30-5:30pm at Peralta Hacienda Historical Park, 2465 34th Avenue, Oakland, California.

This program is made possible through the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Zellerbach Foundation.

Contacts to write a Feature Article:
Walter Hood, Principal
Hood Design Studio

Holly Alonso
Executive Director
Friends of Peralta Hacienda Historical Park

posted 01.31.2010

updated by: monicadear

Revised Website to be Released
Peralta Hacienda is pleased to announce the release of an updated website at

Including additional exhibit material, calendar pages, and more about the Friends and Peralta Hacienda Historical Park, the website serves as a resource point.

Please visit the new website at:

posted 11.10.2007

updated by: monicadear

Premiere of Community Recipe Book
For Immediate Release
Now through November 10, 2007

Media Contact:
Jocelyn Scheibe
(510) 532-9142

What: Premiere of Community Recipe Book, a museum exhibit at Peralta Hacienda Historical Park

When: Saturday, November 10, 2007

Time: 2 pm to 4 pm

Where: Peralta Hacienda Historical Park, 2465 34th Avenue, Oakland, California 94601

Admission: Free to the public

Outside the restored Peralta house in Peralta Hacienda Historical Park in East Oakland, Mien women from the mountains of Laos tend a small vegetable garden. Close by, many African American kids hang out with their friends. The two groups use the park more frequently than anybody else in the neighborhood. They seldom exchanged greetings, and did not know each other’s names, until a program focusing on sharing food, recipes and their life stories brought them together.

The Community Recipe Book, a museum exhibit at Peralta Hacienda Historical Park, uses photos, recipes and life stories to document the process in which the elders and youth began to communicate with each other, as they participated in the park’s Landscape of Stories programs. The exhibit will premiere Saturday, November 10, from 2-4 pm in the Peralta House, 2465 34th Ave, near the corner of Coolidge and Hyde in the vibrant Fruitvale District. The event will be a Community Banquet, with Mien and African American food for all. Highlighting first person stories by the Mien elders and neighborhood youth, the Community Recipe Book was conceived and written by Holly Alonso, with photographs by artist Ene Osteraas-Constable. Chapters with other neighborhood cultures will be added in the future.

The California Council for the Humanities gave seed money to Friends of Peralta Hacienda Historical Park to interview the Mien elders and neighborhood youth, and for Community Banquets. In this first stage of the project three years ago, Alonso and Osteraas-Constable created outdoor signs in the garden showing the Mien and the kids among the amaranth, mustard, bean and corn plants that flourish there.

The Mien brought seeds when they were flown here in the early 1980s from Thai refugee camps. They had fled to Thailand years before, pursued by the Pathet Lao (Laotian Communists). They had cultivated these crops for centuries and considered them integral to their culture. As Nai Sieuw Saelee articulated, “We plant these seeds so the species from home won’t die. Without these plants, our way of life will disappear.” Their strongest hope is that the Mien culture will survive.

The project expanded thanks to the Walter and Elise Haas Fund’s grant for a weekly program, matched by funds from the Alliance for California Traditional Arts. Tracey Cockrell, dedicated and inspired artist educator, drew the kids and their family recipes into the mix, teaching them about germination, watering and the tender loving care necessary in cultivating both plants and community, with the Mien elders mentoring the efforts of the youth. This year, filmmaker Shannon Petrello has elicited stories from local middle school youth of many cultures and the Mien in Story Circles in the Peralta House. These Story Circle have elicited identical folktales and parallel personal stories from opposite sides of the globe.

African American youth in the program found common ground with the Mien within the agricultural traditions of their own families. Kadeisha Young brought her mother’s favorite recipe for collard greens and cooked them with the Mien, slow-simmered in the garden at one of the program’s outdoor events. Some kids made their favorite foods, such as Richard Armstrong’s franks and links, and shared them with the Mien. Marcus Jones, whose family came here from Somalia, invented a pan-fried peach cobbler for
his family’s camping trips, which Finh Luang Saelee helped him keep from burning. All became conscious that their families and ways of life are linked to the traditional cooking and farming methods of their cultures.

As an outgrowth of the program, community leaders are being nurtured: 18-year-old Nai Saelee, daughter of one of the gardeners, is now working with UC Davis, through Peralta Hacienda, to study how traditional arts can improve mental and physical health of immigrants who have undergone extremely traumatic experience as wars have thrust them across the globe. These women lead their families through the jungle, many with their own infants dying in their arms after watching their villages burn and close family members being shot, suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

The ancient farming techniques of the Mien have much in common with cutting edge organic farming. Another story embedded in this one, is that many of the offspring of the Mien elders at Peralta Hacienda have become organic farmers in California’s burgeoning market for fresh organic produce. Their tie with the land is mystical; a core Mien belief is that they were chosen at the beginning of the human race by the divine king to be farmers. The community garden has deep meaning for all of them.

Alonso, and volunteers Soo Han and Tom Hutcheson tape recorded and videotaped interviews. Cockrell and Petrello held frequent story circles in the garden and in the 1870 historic house at the site, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Kids learned about the various types of vegetables the Mien grow as they learned their life stories in lively gardening sessions, and planted their own crops. Every two months, community banquets to which the whole neighborhood is invited, take place, where the kids and the Mien elders harvest, cook and share their foods.

Alonso says, “Peralta Hacienda is about encounters across barriers of ‘them and us.’ Fruitvale, in its diversity, potentially, could be a model for the world. On a more immediate level, I am so happy to see people separated by age, language, culture, dress, and background begin to discover what they have in common, and to say hello to each other.”


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