For Immediate Release
Press Contact: Mary Ann Merker, Civic Arts Coordinator , (510) 981-7533

Great new improvements to the park, playing fields and courts coincides with San Pablo Park Centennial Celebration set for August 25

Berkeley, California (Friday, August 17, 2007) - The 100-year anniversary of San Pablo Park will be celebrated in fine style with two new public art projects and more than a million dollars in improvements to the park and the Frances Albrier Center.

A stunning new historic plaque, celebrating the life of noted African American activist Frances Albrier, and a mural celebrating the multicultural children of the San Pablo Park community, will be unveiled at the Centennial Festival on Saturday, August 25 at 11 a.m.

The Centennial Festival is being hosted by the San Pablo Neighborhood Council and will include live theater and music (The Pete Escovedo Latin Jazz Band and others), a farmers' market, a petting zoo, contests, crafts, kids' activities, a school supply giveaway and more. The Festival starts at 11:00 a.m. and will keep going all day till 6:00 p.m.

The Mural and the Plaque: Art in the Park

“Honoring Frances Albrier” is a historic plaque that celebrates Albrier’s contributions to the City of Berkeley, the region and the state. The four-foot by five-foot interpretive plaque combines historical photographs, quotes from Albrier’s oral history and text to communicate the power of her work as a leader in political and civic rights campaigns from the 1930s-1970s. Although Albrier was active in state and national political issues, she was deeply rooted in South Berkeley. 

“Albrier lived just a few blocks from San Pablo Park,” said resident Donna Graves, “so it is fitting that she be recognized at our community center. Her story of life-long passionate activism is worth remembering and teaching our children.” 

Donna Graves, a local historian and cultural planner, researched and designed the plaque. She and her family live in the neighborhood and are active park participants. This public art project also included a well-attended memory-gathering event at the site and an educational program at Berkeley's Longfellow School. She will also be giving a free slideshow and talk about life of Albrier and of the neighborhood.

“Unique and Everyday Kids,” a mural by nationally known artist Isis Rodriguez, was painted with help from the community children. 

“The kids wanted the mural to reflect how they can use park activities to integrate their culture with other cultures,” she said. “That’s how we came up with the idea of sports bringing kids together. The kids have been terrific in helping me paint the mural. It’s like a big coloring book for them.”

The historic plaque will be placed at the entrance to the community center building and the mural is in the inside, open courtyard.

Park Improvements

As perhaps the most heavily utilized parks in the city for youth sports and activities,  San Pablo Park and the Frances Albrier Center were in need of renovation. More than $330,000 has been put into the the Frances Albrier Community Center renovation, including reconstructing the game room, replacing the roof, painting the entire building, and making the bathrooms handicapped accessible.

In addition, more than $888,000 in improvements were made to the park itself, including paving the pathways and redesigning the courtyard, resurfacing the tennis and basketball court (in progress), renovating the backstop on Field #1 (in progress) and the infield on Field #2.

The two art projects are part of the City of Berkeley 1.5% for art program of the Civic Arts Commission. For further information contact: Mary Ann Merker, Civic Arts Coordinator at (510) 981-7533. To volunteer at the festival or more information, call (510) 204-0681. For information about City of Berkeley parks, call 981-6700.