Adobe Art Gallery History

Adobe Art Gallery exterior photo courtesy: Marco Zecchin, Image Center

The Hayward Area Recreation and Park District established the Adobe Art Center in the fall of 1961 to fulfill the need in the area for an art center. Classes are offered for all ages, day and night, in ceramics, painting, sculpture, jewelry and watercolor while the Adobe Art Gallery offers local artists an opportunity to display their works.

The Adobe building, located on the grounds of the Castro Valley Elementary School, was leased to the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District for use as a community center. The Adobe was a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project designed by Mario Corbett of San Francisco and built in 1938. The building is located in an elm grove planted by the Castro Valley Boy Scouts in 1926. There are hundreds of 4x9x16 inch adobe bricks made by the W.P.A. from dirt excavated from the site of the Redwood School in Castro Valley. The walls of the Adobe are 16 inches thick. Most of the timbers were hand hewn from discarded telephone poles given to the Castro Valley School District by the Pacific Telephone Company. Stabilized mud was used as mortar and the Glidden Paint Company developed special paint. The original draperies were hand woven by WPA workers from twine supplied by the Castro Valley School District.

Of special interest is the copper mural over the large fireplace in the meeting hall portraying scenes from the life of California Indians designed by Clay Spohn and executed by Alanzo Chard in 1941. A mosaic mural by an anonymous artist at the entrance to the building depicts a bullfight and the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad.

The building was first used as a day nursery, a meeting place for the Parent Teachers Association and community groups. Kindergarten classes of the Castro Valley School District met in the Adobe from 1943 through 1959. The Adobe building located on the North side of the elm grove was used as a meeting place and is now the ceramics studio.

The Redwood Studios were completed on February 1965. The 3,360 square foot building houses the painting, jewelry and sculpture studios, offices for the Adobe Art Center and an exhibit lounge.