French drawing room at Hillwood


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Conversation with Kristine Mays on the Lawn

"My hope is that the figures will spring forth like spirits rising from the soil, to be recognized, revered and embraced."  —Kristine Mays 

Enjoy a relaxing summer evening in Hillwood’s spectacular gardens and join Kristine Mays, contemporary artist, and Rebecca Tilles, Hillwood curator, for a conversation about Kristine Mays: Rich Soil. Bring a blanket or lawn chairs from home and enjoy a physically distanced picnic on Hillwood’s expansive Lunar Lawn

Explore the inspiration behind the evocative figures into which Mays breathes life. Mays will discuss the motivation and meaning behind Rich Soil and her process of creating sturdy, yet ephemeral figures in motion. Within the confines of hard metal wire is a sense of resilience and perseverance—a need to push forward and thrive while paying honor to the ancestors who have tended this land. Rebecca Tilles and Kristine Mays will also explore the connections between Rich Soil and Marjorie Post’s passion for and patronage of dance, honoring Post’s legacy through Mays’s work. 

Visitors are encouraged to submit questions for the speakers via their personal devices. 

Advanced reservations are recommended. 


5:30-7 p.m. Self-guided touring of Hillwood’s mansiongardensRich Soil, and Roaring Twenties,
                           museum shopgreenhouse, and Merriweather To Go open 
                           Picnicking on the Lunar Lawn 

7:15-8 p.m. Conversation and Q&A with Kristine Mays on the Lunar Lawn 


  • This program takes place outdoors, with limited capacity.
  • You must bring your own lawn chairs or picnic blankets for seating on the Lunar Lawn. Hillwood will not provide these shared materials. Visitors may wish to bring bug spray.
  • Picnicking is welcome at this event. Note that our liquor license does not allow patrons to bring in outside alcohol.
  • Food and drinks, including beer and wine, will be available from Merriweather To Go.
  • See our visitor guidelines for information about how we are following the latest local and national guidance. Pump hand-sanitizer will be available.


If inclement weather forces us to postpone, the event will be rescheduled on Thursday, July 1.  All registered participants will receive notice if the program is rescheduled by 3 p.m. on June 30. 

Please note that this program will be recorded and made available on Hillwood’s YouTube channel.  


Kristine Mays is an American artist currently living and working in San Francisco, California. Independently trained, and a self-described maker for her entire life, she began crafting with wire in 1993, after years of drawing, sketching, sewing, and bead work. Of her current work, Mays says, "I am honored and humbled that I can spend my life creating artwork."  

Mays seeks to create changes with her art, raising thousands of dollars for AIDS research through the sale of her work and collaborating with organizations such as Visual Aid, the San Francisco Alliance Health Project, WE-Actx, and ArtSpan. She has participating in programming at the De Young Museum, the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD), and exhibited at the California African American Museum (CAAM) and at Filoli Historic House and Garden. Mays is represented by Adler & Co. in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, the Richard Beavers Gallery in Brooklyn, New York, and Zenith Gallery in Washington, DC. Collectors of her work include George Lucas and the collector Peggy Cooper Cafritz, with her work also displayed in many Bay Area homes and private collections throughout the United States. 

Rebecca Tilles is Hillwood’s associate curator of 18th-century French and Western European fine and decorative arts. She is the curator of Kristine Mays: Rich Soil, an outdoor garden sculpture exhibition (June 26, 2021-January 9, 2022) and The Luxury of Clay: Porcelain Past and Present (February 16-June 26, 2022). Rebecca is also organizing a spotlight exhibition entitled “Marjorie Merriweather Post and the Diplomacy of Philanthropy,” in partnership with the State Department, at the National Museum of American Diplomacy in Washington, D.C. (March 2022). Rebecca completed her PhD in Art History from the University of Sussex (2019) where her dissertation was entitled George and Florence Blumenthal: A Collecting Partnership in the Gilded Age, 1858-1941.” She holds a BA (with honors) in French and French Cultural Studies from Wellesley College (2003), an MA in European Decorative Arts from The Bard Graduate Center in New York (2007), and studied at the Ecole du Louvre, Paris. 

Kristine Mays

Artist Kristine Mays

Jeff Bartee Photography
Rich Soil at Filoli
Jeff Bartee Photography