A peaceful hand makes a home in Civic Park
A giant hand now greets those who walk, or even drive, by Civic Park.
The sculpture, titled the "Hand of Peace," was created by famous artist Benjamin Bufano, who reportedly at one time cut off his trigger finger and sent it to President Woodrow Wilson to protest World War I.
The nearly 5-ton sculpture made of copper, mosaic and stained glass is 30 feet tall, and was placed (using a crane) in Civic Park near the library a few weeks ago. A deal to place the sculpture in Civic Park has been in the works for years but it took time to clean the statue and fix it and for the city and the piece's owners, the Chang family, to come to an agreement on the lease of the art.
The open-hand figure has stained glass around the fingers and a mural in the middle of the palm featuring a group of children. Above them, an inscription reads, "The children of the world shall inherit the earth."
For 43 years the sculpture was tucked away in Quail Court office park; now it will be in Civic Park for at least the next 25 years. Four years after Italian-born artist Bufano installed his massive sculpture in Walnut Creek, he died.
Bufano, who lived in San Francisco, has many well-known pieces throughout the Bay Area, including a sculpture of Chinese leader Sun Yat-sen in San Francisco's Chinatown and a sculpture of St. Francis of Assisi at Mondavi Vineyards in Napa.
Free ice cream today for the Fourth of July
Walnut Creek continues its Centennial Celebrations with a free 4th of July Concert and Ice Cream Social today; the overall event runs from 3 to 7 p.m. centered at the Civic Park Gazebo, at Civic Drive and Broadway.
The family-friendly event includes performances by the Walnut Creek Concert Band and free ice cream scooped by former Walnut Creek mayors from 5 to 6 p.m., before the concert, and from 7 until 7:30 after the concert.
The Valley Art Gallery is hosting a "Walnut Creek Paint-Out" project, a display of plein-air art scenes of Walnut Creek created by local artists (see front-page story). People attending the social will be able to view the works of art and vote for their favorite painting at www.valleyartgallery.org.
The event is free. For more information, go to www.walnutcreek100.com
No fireworks in Walnut Creek, please
And speaking of Independence Day, the Walnut Creek Police Department sent out a gentle but firm reminder this week that while everyone should enjoy the Fourth of July, personal fireworks should not be part of the celebration.
Sale, possession and discharge of all fireworks, including sparklers and other "safe & sane" devices, are illegal in Contra Costa County, including Walnut Creek, according to a news release from police.
Officers "will actively enforce any violations and those found in violation of fireworks laws will be cited and/or arrested," according to the release.
For questions call 925-256-3573.
Special arts commission meeting
A special Walnut Creek Arts Commission meeting will take place 6 p.m. July 8. The meeting will be held in the third floor conference room, 1666 N. Main St.
The meeting will deal with public art in general, such as what public art is, criteria for such art and selection of public art.
Downtown History History tour July 12
The Downtown History Tour sponsored by the Walnut Creek Historical Society will take place July 12. This easy, 90-minute guided walking tour brings to life the early times and development of what has become a Bay Area destination city, according to a news release.
The tours are held on the second Saturday of each month. The next tour will be 9 a.m., July 12. Check-in is at the fountain at Liberty Bell Plaza on the corner of Broadway and Mt. Diablo Blvd. The tour begins at 9:30 a.m. and is free.
A booklet with historic photos of the sites visited may be purchased at the tour for $5. Registration in advance is required and space is limited. To sign up for the tour go to the Walnut Creek Historical Society's website at: www.walnutcreekhistory.info
'Movies Under the Stars' sequel back in July
After a hiatus of a few years, the city's "Movies Under the Stars" event returns this summer, with "Frozen" on July 11, and "The Sandlot" on Aug. 8.
The movies begin at dusk at Heather Farm Park's Ball field No. 2. And families are encouraged to come and picnic while watching the free movie.
Call 925-943-5858 or go to www.WalnutCreekRec.org
Grove to mark Walnut Creek Centennial
To celebrate Walnut Creek's 100 years, it's time to plant 100 trees.
Dubbed the "Walnut Creek Centennial Grove at Heather Farm Park," the public is invited to help make it a reality.
Individuals, families, businesses, community groups and non profits can be a part of the gift to future generations by making a donation of $250 to fund the project. The names of all supporters will be etched in stone on the Centennial Rock in the Centennial Grove.
"Designed to provide a peaceful place to relax and reflect, the Centennial Grove of 100 trees, adorned with a new piece of public art, will encircle the pond at Heather Farm Park," according to a news release.
Among the 100 trees in the grove will be both native varieties, such as coast live oak and western rebus, as well as trees from six different continents, according to the release.
"The mixture of native and exotic trees is designed to represent and pay tribute to the diversity of people from around the world who settled Walnut Creek and helped create and build the community residents and visitors treasure today," read the release.
Donations may be made online at WalnutCreek100.com, or by sending a check payable to Walnut Creek Centennial Grove/Walnut Creek Historical Society, 1630 N. Main St., Suite 118, Walnut Creek, CA 94596. Call 925-943-5895 or go to the website.
Summer concert at the Lesher
The Walnut Creek Concert Band presents their annual Summer Pops Concert, an entertaining program of light classical music and marches, on Tuesday, July 22 at 7:30 p.m. in the Lesher Center for the Arts. Summer Pops will include a special guest appearance by the Clarinet Fusion, an area clarinet choir founded by Walnut Creek Concert Band member Karyn Weber. Call 925-943-7469, or go to www.Lesherartscenter.org for tickets.
Bancroft Garden art party slated for July 11
Take a Friday night stroll through The Ruth Bancroft Garden's annual sculpture exhibition while watching plein-air painters interpret the surrounding beauty as the sounds of live jazz music by Dogbone plays.
From 5 to 8 p.m. Friday July 11, the garden will host its annual sculpture in the garden exhibit and provide visitors with a Cajun feast. The cost is $15 per person in advance; $25 per person at the door, not including food tickets. The Ruth Bancroft Garden is located at 1552 Bancroft Road in Walnut Creek.
For more information, go to www.ruthbancroftgarden.org or call 925-944-9352.
-- Compiled by Elisabeth Nardi