Presentation launches design phase of Sidney & Irene Dearing Memorial Project
The City of Piedmont invites community members to a free presentation from globally renowned artist and landscape designer Walter Hood on Tuesday, November 7th, 5:30pm at the Alan Harvey Theater (800 Magnolia Avenue). Hood will discuss his approach to design as a cultural practice, weaving together history, landscape, and memory to express contemporary and historical stories through the building environment.
The City has engaged Oakland-based Hood Design Studio to develop conceptual designs for a memorial to Sidney and Irene Dearing, Piedmont’s first black homeowners who were forced out of the city in 1925 after a year of harassment, threats, and violence. This event will launch the design phase of the Dearing memorial project, which the City Council initiated in 2022.
Following the event, Hood and his team will work with members of the Dearing family and a Technical Advisory Committee to develop designs for a memorial. Two preliminary design concepts will be shared publicly, with an opportunity for community members to offer feedback that will inform the final design.
The memorial will be located in Triangle Park at the intersection of Magnolia and Wildwood Avenues, near the home once owned by Sidney and Irene Dearing. The City hopes to begin construction in Spring 2024.
ABOUT WALTER HOOD AND HOOD DESIGN STUDIO
Walter Hood is founder and creative director of Hood Design Studio, a firm known internationally for their work integrating cultural storytelling into landscape design. Recent projects include the African Ancestors Memorial Garden surrounding the International African American Museum in Charleston, South Carolina, Lift Ev’Ry Voice and Sing Park in Jacksonville, Floria, and the Peter Oliver Pavilion Gallery in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Local projects include the de Young Museum gardens in Golden Gate Park, the recent Oakland Museum of California gardens redesign, and nearby Splash Pad Park in Oakland’s Grand Lake neighborhood.
As an individual, Hood is recognized across the globe for his contributions to art, landscape architecture, urbanism, and research. In addition to his work at Hood Design Studio, he currently serves as chair of UC Berkeley’s Department of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning and is regarded as one of the pre-eminent American landscape designers working today. He has received a MacArthur Fellowship, the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, and the Knight Foundation Public Space Fellowship. Hood holds membership in both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.