Sacramento Press reports on Guy Diehl's "Billy Holiday" mural in Davis, CA

April 2013

by Maxwell Pierce

It had been a few years since I lasthad been in Davis so I was surprisedwhen I turned into town to see a giantthree story sculpture of a man on firststreet.

I was there to meet up with friendsfor brunch at Cafe Bernardo. Iquickly parked my car and walked tothe restaurant. As I walked down thestreets of Davis I spotted differentmurals on the sides of restaurants and various sculptures. I would later learn that these works werepart of a new art walk. My friends and I thought we would take advantage of the great weekendweather and explore the Davis Art walk.

We obtained a map from the John Natsoulas Gallery where we learned from a friendly staff personthat the art pieces had RFID tags, which enabled you to learn more about the piece and leave amessage for others to see. I also learned that a dedicated team of regional artists spent the past yearcreating the murals.

The walk takes about an hour and a half by foot or forty-five minutes on a bike. The walk starts offin downtown Davis and then loops through the scenic arboretum and the UC Davis campus. Wetook our time and checked out the little shops and sampled a few drinks at the new wine bar in between looking at the new works. Davis has always been an easy city to get around by foot so itwas actually quite fun to explore all the new additions to the city.

The eighteen foot sculpture that greeted me when I arrived was named Stan the Submerging Manand he was created by artist Finley Flyer from old recycled toys and children's records. Another eyecatching work was a life size-giraffe by Jean Van Keuren. You will find works from famous Davisartists like Robert Arneson on the university portion of the tour.

I was taken aback by the murals - they were all so unique. On the corner of Ace Hardware there isthe beautiful mural by Guy Diehl called “Still Life with Billie Holliday” – a stunning tribute to thelate singer.

The theme was perfect since it faces the Davis Farmers market. Another favorite was the Picasso-inspired work by Kelly Detweiler “Flowers to Miss L.” This one could be found on the side of thepost office. The building itself was quite plain, but the bright colors and dramatic imagery reallyenhanced it.

I really recommend coming to Davis and seeing the works for yourself. Just remember to bringwalking shoes and your camera.

To pick up a copy of the Davis Art Walk map, visit the Yolo County Visitors Bureau (132 E St., Suite200; (530) 2978-1900) or the John Natsoulas Center for the Arts (521 1st St.; (530) 756-3938). Formore information about the Davis Art Walk map and tours call the Natsoulas Center at (530)756-3938, email art@natsoulas.com, or visit www.natsoulas.com.