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Artists gather to share their creativity

Birch Lane students see a production this month of "Light the Way," a bike safety musical by Bike City Theatre Company. There's a public performance of the play June 1-2 at Patwin Elementary.
Photo credit: Owen Yancher/Davis Enterprise

By Wendy Weitzel

More than 20 artists and supporters of the arts gathered May 16 for the bi-monthly Arts Alliance Davis meeting, this time at the city’s Hunt-Boyer Mansion downtown. This story is a glance at what’s going on in the local arts community.

Arts Alliance Davis meets every other month, at rotating venues. The collaborative effort unites artists, civic and arts organizations, businesses, patrons and other community arts allies. It’s open to anyone who creates, supports or enjoys the arts.

Rachel Hartsough, the city of Davis’ arts and culture manager, highlighted the completion of the Third Street Improvement project, which beautified the corridor that links UC Davis with downtown. The grand finale was the May 7 installation of “The Davis Needle,” a 25-foot-tall obelisk created from reclaimed bicycle parts. Programmable LED Lights will be installed in the sculpture that will sparkle on the hour at night. The public is invited to join a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the sculpture at 11 a.m. on June 1.

The city has launched the Poem of the Month, curated by Poet Laureate James Lee Jobe. The poems highlighting the works of regional poets and celebrate a sense of place. The selections run monthly in The Davis Enterprise, the last week of each month.

Hartsough also mentioned several openings for spots on the city’s Civic Arts Commission. More information can be found on the city’s website.

The Mellon Music Festival will bring its international chamber music to Davis May 24-26, with performances at 7:30 p.m. that Friday at Odd Fellows Hall, and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at John Natsoulas Gallery. A free “History of the Tango,” talk begins at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Stephens Davis Branch Library. Visit

Autumn Labbé-Renault, chair of Arts Alliance Davis, talked about the Big Day of Giving and the fifth local evening event, Big Day at the (Sudwerk) Dock. More than 500 attended this year’s event, and 27 nonprofits took part. “It was a joyous, celebratory evening for nonprofits,” she said. They’ll be looking for sponsors next year.

Labbé-Renault, executive director of Davis Media Access, said her organization hosts workshops and camps for children and teens to learn video and radio production, and some openings remain for the summer. Visit

Aidan Ramey, a third-year UC Davis electrical engineering student, told the group about a local movement called Our Davis Flag, where some 40 volunteers are working to support the idea of a new city flag. The Alliance members gave feedback on the draft design, saying they’d like to change the blue and gold colors, and the look of the wheel. Most thought it needed more work before asking for city approval, and encouraged new approaches. Visit Our Davis Flag on Facebook for details.

Stacie Frerichs, executive director of the Davis Arts Center, said Acme Theatre Company is presenting the comedy “The Beaux’ Stratagem” at 7 p.m. on the Friday through Monday of Memorial Day weekend, May 24-27 at DAC’s outdoor stage, 1919 F St. It’s free.

DAC will host several events for June is Music Month. It has a Young Artists Showcase of acoustic guitar players planned for June 15, which likely will be moved to June 22 to accommodate Celebrate Davis’ new date: June 15.

The Arts Center is accepting vendor applications through June 30 for its Annual Holiday Sale, set for Dec. 6-8. For more info on DAC, visit

Jade Gregg of Bike City Theatre Company said the group just completed its tour of public schools, where it performed “Light the Way,” a bike safety musical. It will have three public performances of the 35-minute play June 1-2 at Patwin Elementary School. The event is free through an active transportation program grant from the city. Visit for details.

Local arts activist Megan Kendzior shared news about the Linda Bair Dance Company, which presents “What Do You See?” at 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 1 at Natsoulas Gallery. The free event features dance and movement installations throughout the space. On June 29, the dance company will present its 20th Anniversary Showing, free, at 2 and 7 p.m. at Della Davidson Performance Studio in UC Davis’ Nelson Hall. Visit

Kendzior also shared news on Juneteenth, presented by the Culture Co-op and Yolo County Library. It’s from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 2 at the Veterans Memorial Center. The vendor fair with artisans and information booths begins at noon, with the program and lunch starting at 1 p.m. The event includes a fashion show, education, food and family fun. Visit

Kendzior encouraged arts organizations to register through the American Alliance of Artists and Audiences, It’s a national arts alliance that serves as a web platform to spread the word about arts and culture across the U.S., and share ideas. 

Artist Adele Shaw discussed her two shows, “Water and Wax” paintings of local waterways, June 5 through July 1 at The Artery. There’s a reception during Second Friday ArtAbout on June 14, from 7 to 9 p.m. Visit to RSVP.

Shaw’s also continuing “Second Bite: The Wisdom of the Apple,” which uses nearly 100 vintage Apple computers. The free show is at Omsoft Technologies, and open from 7 to 10 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays until May 31. Visit

Rob Salas of the Davis Shakespeare Festival talked about its upcoming season, including “The Tenth Muse,” June 20 through Aug. 3 at the Veterans Memorial Theatre. Celebrating the work of Spanish poet Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, the play is set in Colonial Mexico, during the Spanish inquisition. After that, there’s “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” June 21 through Aug. 4, and “The Comedy of Errors,” Sept. 18 through Oct. 13. Visit

Katy Karns, ArtAbout coordinator for Davis Downtown, said there are always merchants eager to host art shows on the Second Friday events, but a lack of submissions from new artists. Interested artists can email her at Learn more at

Michael French of UC Davis Arts shared information on the theatre and dance department’s premiere of “Love/Logic,” which continues through May 25 at the Wyatt Pavilion. It was showcased in the 2018 Ground and Field Theatre Festival under its previous title, “Parity.” The play focuses on two theoretical physicists set to debate the parity of the universe, and demonstrates how “smart people make dumb decisions,” French said.

An exhibit at the Manetti Shrem Museum of Art showcases the work of arts and humanities graduate students May 26 through June 16, with an opening reception from 6 to 9 p.m. on May 30. Visit to see UC Davis events.

Larry Chandler is an arts volunteer who staffs a booth once a month at the Saturday Davis Farmers Market, sharing leaflets about arts events around town. He encourages people to contact him at so he can share your event.

Jessie Nakahara, arts and culture program associate with the city, told the group about Think Outside the Box, a recently completed project that transformed 13 traffic-control boxes into lively pieces of art. Regional artists worked with city staffers to create designs that were transferred to vinyl and wrapped around the boxes. The box locations include City Hall, International House Davis, the Davis Arts Center and 10 others.

Gloria Partida told attendees about Sunday’s Davis Pride Festival at Central Park, which had a fun run, music festival and information booths to support the LGBTQ+ community. Visit

The next meeting of Arts Alliance Davis is July 18. The venue is to be determined but organizers plan an early evening social. After that, the meetings return to 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. on Sept. 19 and Nov. 21. For more information, to post an event or opportunity listing, or to subscribe to be on the mailing list, contact Rachel Hartsough at

Follow and share local and regional arts updates on the city of Davis Arts and Cultural Affairs new social media:


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