A few sculptures from the Sam Richardson exhibit at the Anderson Collection

See Social Issues Highlighted at the Anderson Collection, Stanford

Stanford is once again open to the public. Last Friday they prepared for the big game against Cal, student bikers zipped around campus, and the art museums are open. We took advantage of the fact that we are able to enjoy the art again, and visited the Anderson Collection.

First, you have to register online to be admitted to the museums. Each museum, the Anderson Collection and the Cantor, have their own registration. We were able to register in front of the museum and walked right in. 

Sam Richardson's sculpture: Most of that Iceberg is Below the Water. In the background a quote from him: I am most satisfied with my work when the tension between simple reductive form and multifaceted content is balanced.

There are currently three new exhibits. First, on the ground floor Sam Richardson’s Islands, Ice, and Sand. Eerily fitting was the subject of climate change in his resin molded landscapes. The piece ​​Most of that Iceberg is Below the Water (1969) for example draws the viewer in with the facets and effect of the light reflecting the pattern above. In fact, Richardson’s art is about 50 years old and has regained meaning in recent years.

A close-up of some of the 3000 toe tags from Hostile Terrain 94.

The wall installation, Hostile Terrain 94, shows more than 3000 handwritten toe tags, each representing a person that died crossing the US/Mexican border at the Sonoran Desert of Arizona between the mid-1990s and 2019. This participatory art project by the Undocumented Migration Project is hosted simultaneously in over 130 locations on 6 continents and started in the fall of 2020.

One of Eamon Ore-Giron's artworks in the Non Plus Ultra series at the Anderson Collection, Stanford.

On the second floor is Eamon Ore-Giron’s Non Plus Ultra. Ore-Giron’s large linen canvases with the gold applications and geometric shapes invoke a history of transnational gold exchange. He moves this subject further by exchanging black with the gold in the later series “as a rejection of colonial legacies and the value system that supports it.” 

The Anderson Collection

is open Wednesdays to Sundays from 11 am – 5 pm.

Sam Richardson: Islands, Ice, and Sand, until March 13, 2022

Undocumented Migrant Project: Hostile Terrain 94, until January 30, 2022

Eamon Ore-Giron: Non Plus Ultra, until February 20, 2022

Visitor parking is right in front of the Museums, but requires downloading an app in order to pay for it.

Have you visited the Anderson Art Collection lately?

Now that the Stanford campus is open again you might want to explore it. To get ideas check out my list of 50 things to do in Stanford.

Large petroglyph at the Chitactac Adams Heritage Park.

Spot some Petroglyphs at Chitactac Adams Heritage Park

Next week is Thanksgiving, a tradition widely believed to have started in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621, when colonists and peoples from the Wampanoag tribe shared a week of harvest celebration. 

Exhibit shelter in the Chitactac Adams Heritage Park.

Tommy Orange, in his book There There, depicts the origin of Thanksgiving being a celebration of a ‘successful massacre’; this is rebutted by Snopes. Not the fact that there was a massacre in 1637 killing 500 people, but that this was the origin of the Thanksgiving tradition. Snopes argues that Sarah Josepha Buell Hale petitioned for this holiday and in 1863 it was written into law by President Lincoln. Hale used the narrative of a meal being shared by Natives and Pilgrims to promote the united vision of the state.

This is about as much as I will participate in a history lesson. Fact is November is National Native American Heritage Month. A good reason to search out sacred sites and learn about Indigenous Peoples in the Bay Area.

Large petroglyph with a circular pattern.

The Chitactac Adams Heritage Park in Gilroy offers information on the life and culture of the Ohlone. In an exhibit shelter there are multiple boards teaching us about the diversity of the Native Peoples in the Bay Area, language examples of the Mutsun and Rumsien, and their use of herbs as medicine. 

Bedrock mortars, round holes in the rock.

The real attraction, however, are the petroglyphs, or rock art. In the middle of the shelter a large rock shows circles ground into the rock. Due to many instances of vandalism it was moved multiple times. There are two more rocks as examples at the shelter, but you are encouraged to spot them outside on the boulders. Please don’t climb on the boulders, the petroglyphs are thousands of years old. 

The 0.2 mile hike of the park has interpretative signs about the lives of the native peoples in this area. The rock art on this hike was hard to see, but the holes in the boulders used for grinding up foods, so called bedrock mortars, are impressive.

Sign of Ranchos and Growth, in the background kids playing and vandalism.

Another striking feature of different rock art was vandalism. The disrespectful disfigurement was near a boulder formation with information about Ranchos and Growth.  

The Chitactac Adams Heritage Park is open year round from 8 am to sunset. 

Note the hike is only partial wheelchair and stroller accessible. 

Another sacred site I wrote about is Mount Umunhum

Other Resources:

https://time.com/4577082/thanksgiving-holiday-history-origins/

https://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2020/11/25/native-americans-thanksgiving-mourning

Welcome sign to the Clarke Swim Center and the All Abilities Playground in Walnut Creek

Play with All Abilities, Walnut Creek

All abilities playground in Walnut Creek, CA.

Last week I posted about the Gardens of Heather Farm. While you are at Heather’s Farm and you have children with you I highly suggest you stop by the all abilities playground. This 30,000 square feet playground has two distinct areas. One for 2-5 year olds, and one for 5 – 12 year olds. It was built in 2014, and according to their website, “intentionally addressing the physical, cognitive, communicative, social/emotional, and sensory needs of all children”.

Playstructure at the all ability playground in Walnut Creek.

The inclusive approach has shock absorbent pathways, wide ramps, ground level play areas, and much more. I like that the design also includes the parking lot and other service areas, by providing ADA approved restrooms, van accessible parking spaces and pathways. 

In the foreground there are two benches shaded by an umbrella, in the background a play structure with multiple slides.

The colorful towers greet you from the parking lot and the structures provide plenty of challenges for all kids. Shade is provided by mature trees, but also large umbrellas.

Overall this playground is well thought out and well liked by the community. 

A climbing wall at the all ability playground in Walnut Creek.

Have your kids played at the all abilities playground?
If you are located in Silicon Valley, there are the Magical Bridge Playgrounds for all abilities. Currently these are in Palo Alto and Redwood City, with four more in the planning state.

Men sitting on a bench overlooking the rose garden at Heather Farm, Walnut Creek.

Get surprised by a multitude of gardens, Heather Farm, Walnut Creek

When I visited Heather Farm I knew this place was well known for its garden. What I did not know was the dimensions and multitudes of them. They have a stunning 27 different garden arrangements! 

Little tunnel with bushes growing on top.

After I entered the centennial grove, 100 trees from around the world, the cuteness of the children’s garden caught my eyes. I’m sure the small, about a yard long, tunnel is loved by many toddlers.The Crowden Rose Garden lures you in by the scent. It features more than 1,000 varieties of roses. 

Bench at the stroll garden, Heather Farm, Walnut Creek.

With names like sensory, stroll, and meadow garden you will likely discover a myriad of plants, and ,of course there are plenty of benches to take in the scenery.  

The name Heather Farm is from a priced race horse, King Heather, of the original ranch owner, John Marchbank. Marchbank bought the 255 acre ranch in 1921 and converted it into a thoroughbred horse training facility. He sold most of the grounds in 1945. Nowadays an independent organization operates the free Heather Farms Garden and education center. Besides the many gardens, the park offers tennis courts, a swim center, an all ability playground, and a fishing lake, to name a few attractions. 

Heather Farms is located at 1540 Marchbanks Dr, Walnut Creek, CA and is open daily during daylight hours.

Have you been to Heather Farm?

While you are in Walnut Creek you might also enjoy the Ruth Bancroft garden with its lavish display of cacti and succulents.

Resources:

A yellow rose.

Walnut Creek Magazine

https://www.walnutcreekmagazine.com/2021/05/27/307676/a-look-back-walnut-creek-s-rich-equestrian-past

Gardens of Heather Farm History

https://gardenshf.org/50-2/

To see a mini tour of the gardens you can watch this YouTube video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mbSlwqtVxc

A couple enjoying the view at the College of San Mateo.

Enjoy the View at the Farmers’ Market, College of San Mateo

Pumpkins at the farmers' market, College of San Mateo.

The farmers’ market at the College of San Mateo is most likely voted for ‘Best View for a Farmers’ Market’. Every Saturday from 9 am – 1 pm you can shop for local produce, grab some lunch, listen to some music, and sign up for your compost class. A list of vendors can be found on the webpage of the Pacific Coast Farmers Market, but they also do a great job updating their facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/CollegeofSanMateoFarmersMarket/, to highlight seasonal produce.

View of the Dumbarton Bridge from the College of San Mateo.

Nothing says fall like huge pumpkins. Other stands sold apples, one had an amazing variety of succulents, and of course there were lots of stands with everything else in season. The Buds contributed their music and had two little girls dance to it. Our discovery was the ramen stand, where you can buy concentrated broth and fresh noodles.

The Buds are playing while two little girls are dancing.

And, like I said, the view is outstanding. Even on a cloudy day you can see San Francisco and the Dumbarton Bridge. The planetarium has an atrium that is perfect for enjoying your lunch. 

The College of San Mateo is located at 1700 West Hillsdale Boulevard. Parking is available at the Galileo parking lot, next to the planetarium. Don’t worry there are signs.  

People eating lunch on the steps to the planetarium.

What is your favorite farmers’ market?

One of the biggest, if not the biggest, farmers’ market in Silicon Valley is in Mountain View. About every town has their own farmers’ market with their own feel. Try them all!

A fuzzy cactus with a bright red flower.

Find What’s in Bloom at the Ruth Bancroft Garden, Walnut Creek

A group of cacti, one with a yellow flower.

At the entrance to the Ruth Bancroft Garden you’ll be handed a map to see what’s in bloom. If you want to come prepared, print it out from their website. The fee to see the succulent garden is $10 for adults with discounts for seniors and children. An amount well spent if you like succulents and drought resistant plants. There are large varieties and they have some in bloom each month.

Two buckets with parasols at the Ruth Bancroft Garden, Walnut Creek.

If you go on a sunny day make sure to pick up a parasol to shade you while exploring. The murals at the entrance are also noteworthy, but inside it is spectacular. Large cacti and palm trees vying for attention together with the huge varieties of succulents. The fruits are interesting as well, but please don’t touch the prickly pear, they have thorns. 

Water lily at the Ruth Bancroft Garden, Walnut Creek.

This is the perfect environment for lizards. They will zip by and then stop to look at you. The koi pond with the water lilies was an added surprise.

Afterwards check out the adjacent nursery. Cute succulents arranged in a pot and, of course, a large variety of sempervivum, cacti and other drought resistant plants.

Bench at the Ruth Bancroft Garden, Walnut Creek.

The Ruth Bancroft Garden with 3.5 acres is larger than the Arizona Garden in Stanford. Both are equally spectacular. On selected evenings between 5:30 and 8:30 pm, November to January, the garden transforms into the Garden of D’Lights and they promise to ‘glow your mind’! Tickets are available at their website and cost $16 – $24 for adults and children between 6 and 15 pay $8 to $12.

Opening hours are:

March – October

Tuesday – Thursday: 9AM to 4PM (last admissions at 3:15pm)

Friday – Sunday: 10AM to 5PM (last admissions at 4:15pm)

November – February

Tuesday – Sunday: 9AM to 4PM (last admissions at 3:15pm)

Do you like seeing blooming succulents?

Ocean of Light: Submergence by Squidsoup at the MAH

Interact with Art, MAH, Santa Cruz

Scene from Continuity at the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco.

We recently went to see teamlab’s Continuity exhibit at the Asian Art Museum. In 2016 teamlab showed off their immersive art in Menlo Park. In San Francisco they expanded their exhibit and I believe the rose smell was an added feature. I highly recommend the experience. It is a new way of connecting with art, by being part of it and even influencing the flow.

Ocean of Light by Squidsoup at the Museum of Art and History in Santa Cruz.

But this blog is for experiences in the Bay Area outside of San Francisco. So, let me point you to another amazing exhibit at the Museum of Art and History (MAH) in Santa Cruz. Before we argue if Santa Cruz is part of the Bay Area, maybe we can agree that sometimes you have to bend the rules, like the immersive art that is displayed. 

I visited Santa Cruz’s MAH in 2017 and was pleasantly surprised about the multiple aspects they offer to their visitors. Recently, I came to see the Ocean of Light: Submergence by Squidsoup, an installation of over 5000 suspended lights.  I felt again satisfied with the different exhibits.This immersive art work lets the viewer walk into the art; it is not only focused on light, but also movement, sound, and the immersive feeling it invokes. 

A giant blue foam hand with a tongue sticking out in front of speed wheel posters.

Besides their ongoing focus on the history of Santa Cruz there are also exhibits on the CZU Lightning Complex Fire, and the Art of Santa Cruz Speed Wheels. To round it up I recommend chilling in the outside sculpture garden on the top floor. 

More information

Continuity at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco just got extended until November.  

Opening hours are:

Thursdays 1 pm – 8 pm, Fridays to Mondays 10 am – 5 pm. 

Tickets for Continuity are sold separately and allow you to see the rest of the museum. Adult admission is $20 weekdays $25 weekends, discounted tickets are $15/$20.

The Museum of Art and History in Santa Cruz is open Thursdays to Sundays 12 pm – 6 pm. General admission is $10, students, teachers, and veterans pay $8.

Would you like to be immersed in art?

PALEOALTO by Marpi Studio at Lytton Plaza

Evolve with art, Code:ART in Palo Alto

PALEOALTO by Marpi Studio at Lytton Plaza, Palo Alto.

I was very excited to see that Code:ART is again happening in Palo Alto. The last time I saw it was 2017. Just this weekend, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, from 5 pm to 10pm; Palo Alto lets you peek into interactive art all around downtown. 

The anchor piece is PALEOALTO by Marpi Studio at Lytton Plaza. This is an interactive time machine. The viewer is transported to a superocean and interacts with strange marine animals and vertebrates on two large screens. 

CODED ARCHITECTURES 0.3 by Amor Muñoz

Once again, the alley next to Bell’s Books hosts a mural: CODED ARCHITECTURES 0.3 by Amor Muñoz. The black and white mural is binary code and spells out a message of connectivity. The viewer can decode the message by using a binary alphabet postcard. Fun and games! 

I/O by Ben Faltau

More interaction is at 555 Ramona St with I/O by Ben Faltau. A hidden message, that changes throughout the day, is on one side of this wall (output). The output gets displayed by the input on the opposite site.

Can we work together to find the answer? I really liked the sound of the output display, the letters moved like old destination boards. 

Jeffery Yip’s Cosmic Cannon on Bryan, Palo Alto.

Jeffery Yip’s Cosmic Cannon on Bryan is an installation with sound and light experience. While Cory Barr with his Color Currents on Florence St created an interactive mural. By now it is clear that most of these Code:ARTs are best experienced when it’s dark. LUMINOUS GROWTH by Liz Hickok, Jamie Banes, and Phil Spitler uses the AT&T parking lot on Hamilton to illuminate a large-scale projection and a sculpture installation of crystals in a cityscape.

LUMINOUS GROWTH by Liz Hickok, Jamie Banes, and Phil Spitler

HYDRALA by Dan Tran and Nick Sowers, in front of the Palo Alto City Hall, is a sound-sculpture. Again we are invited to play with the four channels of audio.

HYDRALA by Dan Tran and Nick Sowers

Not only is the art interactive, at each station you might meet the artists and chat with them about their intentions. 

Code:ART info

Code:ART, the interactive new media festival illuminates Palo Alto’s downtown October 7-9 2021, each day from 5pm to 10pm.

The locations can be found on this virtual map: https://viewer.mapme.com/codeart2021/ or you can pick up a postcard map at each station.

During Code:ART Bell’s Books has extended opening hours. On Friday the Pace Gallery and the Pamela Walsh Gallery hosts public receptions and on Saturday the Qualia Contemporary Art also hosts an opening reception.

What is your favorite way to interact with art?

Are you planning on visiting Code:ART?

Touch station. The sign reads: Reach your hands inside these boxes and touch the secret item. Use what you feel and the photos as clues to figure out what's inside!

Smell, Touch, and See

The Guadalupe Park & Gardens Visitor Center, San Jose

Turtle sunbathing at the Guadalupe Park and Visitor Center, San Jose.

The Visitor and Education Center for the Guadalupe River Park is open Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. It says on the door to ring the bell when the door is locked, so I did. 

Right now during COVID there are no field trips, but you can imagine little kids will love this place. The room is not expansive, and probably hard to social distance with more than 20 kids.The center hosts a large aquarium and five terrariums. The volunteer asked me to watch my step, but when she looked over her shoulder, she saw that the turtle was still enjoying the sun, only turning slightly to me to get its picture taken. 

Snake skin. The sign says: Feel free to touch on this shelf gently.
Raccoon fur at the Guadalupe Visitor Center, San Jose

I was also surprised to see such a large garter snake in one of the terrariums. The snake just shed its skin and you are allowed to touch the remains. It feels fragile but not brittle. I was informed by the volunteer that this skin was just a few days old.

Speaking of touching, there is a large raccoon fur hanging next to the snake skins to diversify your sensory experience. This is a room for all senses. The far wall has touch, smell, and sight stations. I hope the visitor center will be filled with kids again soon, enjoying it with all senses.

Smell container. Sign reads: Please return the scent containers to this bin once you have finished guessing.

The Guadalupe Park & Gardens Visitor & Education Center is located 

438 Coleman Ave, San Jose

Current open hours are 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday.
Mark your calendars. Pumpkins in the Park 2021 is October 9th, 10 am to 4 pm. Experience Guadalupe River Education, free pumpkins (while supplies last), a giant slide and obstacle course, and much more at Guadalupe River Park.

If you want your children to have sensory experiences, try the Sensory Garden of the Gardens of Lake Merritt, Oakland or Charles Street Gardens in Sunnyvale.

The entrance of the children's bookstore Hicklebee's in San Jose.

Excited by children’s books’ artifacts, Hickelbee’s in San Jose

Hicklebee's where books come alive sign.

Exit through the gift shop, is not only an experimental documentary by street artist Bansky but the strategic reality of most museums. At Hicklebee’s, a quaint children’s bookstore in the lovely Willow Glen neighborhood of San Jose, that idea is turned on its head: a museum in a bookstore. 

The wall with authors and books artifacts at Hicklebee's, San Jose.

Hickelbee’s employee Carol Schweppe and her husband Steve brought their vision of children’s books alive with artifacts sprinkled around the store. Over the cash register a sign with their motto: Hicklebee’s – where books come alive. When I spotted the Nimbus 2000 I knew exactly what they meant. 

Don and Audrey Wood - Smoking Hot Pens - Original art created following a Hicklebee's signing in 1985.

In a display case on the left from the entrance, you can find more examples of literate artifacts. There is Harold’s purple crayon and an oversized acorn from Chicken Little. And, the authors themselves left their marks. Pictures of smoking pens from a signing by Don and Audrey Wood for example. In every nook you can find autographs and caricatures.

A wall of Hicklebee's with signatures and caricatures from authors.

With this much attention to detail it is no surprise that Hickelbee’s is a well stocked independent children’s bookstore. 

Have you spotted interesting artifacts at Hicklebee’s?

Another independent bookstore with a fascinating history, gives space to the counterculture of the 60s. See my blog post on Kepler’s in Menlo Park.