A group of Davis teens will celebrate the culmination of a four-month immersion in public art with a festival for the whole community at the Pence Gallery on Saturday.
Createfest will feature youth art, music, food and more, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Pence, 212 D St. The event, organized by Teens Take Charge, is free of charge.
Shoshana Zeldner has been running Teens Take Charge since March, opening a window into the world of community art for the 10 participating teenagers.
Her goal was to provide a free, teen-driven program designed to explore, create and celebrate community through public art. During weekly meetings, the group created their own art and met with a number of local artists behind the public artwork featured all around Davis.
Among them were the masterminds behind the art on the city water tank at Mace Boulevard and I-80 — Sofia Lacin and Hennessy Christophel — as well as Susan Shelton, whose tilework adorns many public spaces, including the Yolo County Administration Building in Woodland.
“It was a good experience to meet with a wide variety of successful artists,” Zeldner said.
Davienne Gabriel, 17, would agree.
A student at Da Vinci High School, Gabriel’s interest lies mainly in digital art, “but I’ve gotten a lot out of this (program),” she said. “How public art works … and how cool it is in Davis that there is public art everywhere.”
Now that she’s met some of the artists, she said, “I can point out who made what.”
Maya Tripathi, 16, signed up for the program specifically to become more involved in community art.
“We learned a lot,” she said, “like figuring out what it is you want to bring to a public place, like an environmental awareness, or to simply beautify. I’ve learned the real value of community art.”
In the last several weeks, the group has been focused on their own artwork — including a mural that will be displayed on Saturday — while also organizing and planning the celebration.
Their mural, which will likely serve as a backdrop for the stage being used during Createfest, features a painting of a tree, with bark made of wire that extends into hands holding cell phones.
It’s a statement on social media, Zeldner said, and one the teens themselves developed.
That’s how much of the program has been, she added: the teens pretty much guided the direction of the class with Zeldner serving more as a facilitator.
“It hinged on their interests,” she said, “and the art they wanted to do.”
The program was paid for in part through a grant from the city of Davis Community Services Department, along with additional funding from the Pence, and Zeldner plans to offer the class again. She hopes to attract even more kids next time — especially some boys. This incarnation included girls from Emerson and Da Vinci junior highs and Davis and Da Vinci high schools.
“It’s fun. I looked forward to coming on Saturdays,” Zeldner said. “It didn’t feel like work. And it’s been cool watching them … they were a shy group at first but now I have to ask them to stop talking.”
Their celebration of public art will take place in and around the Pence on Saturday and will feature musical groups Brady Corcoran, Camila Ortiz, Kill the Fascists and Crow Canyon. Guests also will enjoy food provided by Whole Foods Market, dance by the Pamela Trokanski Dance Theatre, art vendor booths, a demonstration by chalk artist Ruby Charon and a video fest.
Visitors also may try their hand at several interactive art booths or get a henna tattoo.
For more information, call 530-758-3370, email [email protected] or visit www.pencegallery.org.
— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at [email protected] or 530-747-8051. Follow her on Twitter at @ATernusBellamy