As our 21st-century way of life increasingly suburbanizes into strip malls, chain stores, and fast-food joints, room for the arts — beyond the ubiquitous Thomas Kinkade galleries — tends to get squeezed. But one longtime organization is fighting to keep a place for the arts in central Alameda County. The Hayward Arts Council provides a haven for artists throughout Northern California. “People don’t realize that there are a lot of artists here,” says Clarice Roberts, president of the council and a watercolor artist herself. The council sponsors regular showings in a wing of the new Hayward City Hall rotunda, along with the City Arts gallery and Green Shutter Gallery, both also in Hayward. Green Shutter also serves as the council’s headquarters and is usually staffed by artists whose work is on display there.