prairie wave II Polynette WIW

"Prairie Wave II" is the title of this mural by Caryl Yasko in Polynette, Wis. Courtesy photo

Local News

Artist seeks ideas for city mural

By From page A14 | February 16, 2014

Caryl Yasko, a nationally recognized muralist, came to the right place if she’s looking for opinions. She’s been commissioned, through a grant funded by PG&E and obtained by the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden, to create a mural that will become part of the public art collection for the city of Davis.

This is the first of three community art projects that the public will have the opportunity to help create. In addition to this mural, there’s a street mural planned for the intersection at Fourth and K streets as well as art benches planned along the newly restored Putah Creek Parkway. It’s all a result of the Community Built Association conference taking place in Davis in early April.

The goals of this project — located in a high-traffic bike and pedestrian throughway connecting Putah Creek Parkway in South Davis with the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden’s newly constructed California Native Plant GATEway Garden — are numerous. Among them are to beautify the environment; to unite two recently improved areas; to pay homage to the history of the land, the creek and California flora; and last, but not least, to infuse that certain je ne sais quoi for which Davis is known.

It’s a tall order, but Yasko’s specialty is working with communities to help them express their voices.

“Art should be available to everyone,” Yasko says. “My approach as an artist is to serve as a facilitator and make it possible for communities to create their own unique art.”

In order to make this happen, Yasko, in collaboration with the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden, is holding multiple forums where members of the public can brainstorm and develop a theme for the mural. They are also invited to draw, but organizers don’t want that aspect to discourage anyone from participating.

“I only invite participants to draw using the elements of line — light, dark, short, thick, thin, curved and straight,” Yasko says. “In this environment, lack of formal art training is never bad.”

Adds Emily Griswold, head of GATEways horticulture and organizer of the event, “We are excited to be hosting Caryl and collaborating with our community on another project. This process fits perfectly with our history of collaboration and co-creation.”

Which sessions should you attend? You are welcome by organizers to attend all nine, or if you have opinions and ideas about what story the mural should tell, attend a theme development workshop. If you are more interested in exploring the artistic qualities of the mural, attend the design development workshops. Interested in checking out the mural’s location and meeting the artist for a few minutes? RSVP for a drop-in session.

Register for any or all of these events via the UC Davis Arboretum website: arboretum.ucdavis.edu. Upon registration, you will be kept informed of any event updates by email.

* Theme development workshops: brainstorming and content development at 212 F St. on Wednesday, from noon to 1 p.m., 1:30 to 3 p.m. or 3:30 to 5 p.m.;

* Design development workshops: group drawing and composition activities at 212 F St. from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday, from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, from 9 a.m. to noon Friday and from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday; and

Design drop-in sessions: information conversions and activities with the artist on site from 1:30 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, and from 1:30 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 23. If it rains, the sessions will move indoors to 212 F St.

Like to paint? Yasko doesn’t just want your ideas. Community members and attendees of the Community Built Association conference will be invited to finalize the project in perpetuity at the end of March and beginning of April. Stay tuned!

Katie F. Hetrick

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