Nationally and locally recognized artists are set to make Davis environs their own canvas, many with the help of artistic volunteers.
At First and F streets, longtime artistic bandleader John Natsoulas of the John Natsoulas Gallery is set to work on what his group calls the “First Davis Community Mural Project,” covering more than 120 feet on the second floor of the parking garage near the stairwell and the elevator.
It’s a collaboration between the Yolo County Visitors Bureau, the Davis Cultural Arts and Entertainment Committee and the Davis Mural Team.
Caryl Yasko, a nationally recognized muralist, got to make a mural that will become part of the collection of Davis public art; it will be funded by a PG&E grant obtained by the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden. The mural will be located at the throughway for bikes and pedestrians connecting Putah Creek Parkway in South Davis to the Arboretum’s newly constructed California Native Plant GATEway Garden.
At Fourth and K streets, a street mandala mural due to be installed that went through the decision process of the Davis Civic Arts Commission and the Davis Bicycle Advisory Commission. Why the bike commission? Because there is a danger of the mandala — painted on the street — being slippery if not painted with the right gritty paint, a Feb. 11 city staff report says.
However, it also adds that on streets with low vehicle speeds and volume, street painting works fine for both vehicles and cyclists. The staff report also removes some of the romance attached to a public art project.
For example: A piece of public art cannot be considered a traffic-calming device, and so normal traffic markings don’t apply. The city did research to find that cities like Portland, Ore., and Seattle had already assembled the wheel — so to speak — on street mandalas and liability issues. Plus, here was the best part for Davis: Those cities knew what paint to use.
The mandala is scheduled to be painted in April. For now, the City Council gave its unanimous approval to move forward with installation of the community-designed mandala at a cost of $3,300. Then it voted to have staff come back and discuss maintenance of the mandala.
Natsoulas’ crew is set to paint on Saturday and Sunday, March 1 and 2, from 8 a.m. to noon. Mayor Joe Krovoza is scheduled to dedicate the “art garage” at 10 a.m. March 1. The ceremony will take place at the first-floor elevator entry lobby.
“This will be an all-ages project, with a strong group of artists working alongside students and citizens alike,” Natsoulas said in a statement. He was unavailable for comment Monday.
“Along with willing citizens, a special mentorship project with UC Davis and Davis Senior High School students will be working with the Davis Mural Team.”
Anyone may participate in the mural project, just bring your own paint brush and wear clothes that can get dirty. All other materials will be provided.
The mural will be coupled with new lighting in the interior to show off the artwork. Local businesses Davis Ace Hardware, Brooks Painting, Hallmark Inn, the John Natsoulas Gallery and Royal Guest Suites are going to fund the event.
— Reach Dave Ryan at 530-747-8057. Follow him on Twitter at @davewritesnews