by Maxwell Pierce
It had been a few years since I last had been in Davis so I was surprised when I turned into town to see a giant three story sculpture of a man on first street.
I was there to meet up with friends for brunch at Cafe Bernardo. I quickly parked my car and walked to the restaurant. As I walked down the streets of Davis I spotted different murals on the sides of restaurants and various sculptures. I would later learn that these works were part of a new art walk. My friends and I thought we would take advantage of the great weekend weather and explore the Davis Art walk.
We obtained a map from the John Natsoulas Gallery where we learned from a friendly staff person that the art pieces had RFID tags, which enabled you to learn more about the piece and leave a message for others to see. I also learned that a dedicated team of regional artists spent the past year creating the murals.
The walk takes about an hour and a half by foot or forty-five minutes on a bike. The walk starts off in downtown Davis and then loops through the scenic arboretum and the UC Davis campus. We took 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 it was 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 Man and he was created by artist Finley Flyer from old recycled toys and children's records. Another eye catching work was a life size-giraffe by Jean Van Keuren. You will find works from famous Davis artists 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 is the beautiful mural by Guy Diehl called Still Life with Billie Holliday – a stunning tribute to the late 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 the post office. The building itself was quite plain, but the bright colors and dramatic imagery really enhanced it.
I really recommend coming to Davis and seeing the works for yourself. Just remember to bring walking shoes and your camera.
To pick up a copy of the Davis Art Walk map, visit the Yolo County Visitors Bureau (132 E St., Suite 200; (530) 2978-1900) or the John Natsoulas Center for the Arts (521 1st St.; (530) 756-3938). For more information about the Davis Art Walk map and tours call the Natsoulas Center at (530)756-3938, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.natsoulas.com.