This month at the Pence Gallery, our Holiday Market continues through Dec. 23, offering shoppers a chance to pick up some creative gifts for friends and family. “Handmade” is the key word to our market, which has a diverse array of scarves, hats, jewelry, purses and fun presents for kids, by more than 30 local artists.
Messenger bags by Lorenzo Kristov are especially popular, as they boast a close-up of a freight train or other bit of urban grit. Michele Fisher has created mixed-media altars that capture the mystery of some far-off, imaginary place. Holly Peters works magic with a pair of scissors. Her 3-D cards capture the essence of home and the holidays, such as one that includes a fold-out fireplace and stockings hanging on the mantel. These make the perfect stocking stuffer for those of you who have long lists and short budgets. Our new jewelers have made enchanting pieces of art from beach stones, glass flowers, porcelain and more.
Each new artist was selected for quality, and most importantly, they are new to the Davis market and only the Pence has them. We all try to shop locally, but it’s truly easy this year at our Holiday Market.
Our next exhibit, “Our Stories: Judith Lowry’s Artistic Reflections on Native California,” on display through Jan. 27, pulls together select master paintings by Lowry, an artist of Maidu/Pit River/Washoe tribal heritage who lives in Nevada City. Lowry’s paintings are vibrant narratives that tell the story of her California Indian roots, mixing family histories with important oral histories and symbols inspired by her native heritage.
Karah English, guest curator, chose paintings by Lowry that are also newly created and that have never been on display. Central to her concept is the connection between historically practiced traditional native arts and today’s artists.
“Blending California Indian basketry with Lowry’s paintings is sure to entice viewers to deeply engage with Lowry’s masterfully told stories,” she said, as the designs shown and objects chosen reflect the continuity of California Indian arts as honoring tradition, while also embracing new media.
Lowry’s classic “Weh Pom and the Star Sisters” series, in the National Museum of the American Indian collection, has been reprinted for “Our Stories” and displayed with newly finished paintings “And He Glittered When He Walked,” an homage to artist Harry Fonseca, and her “Tattoos” series, which centers on the diversity of California native identity through portraits distinguished by historic native tattoo patterns.
Please join us on Friday, Dec. 14, from 6 to 9 p.m. for an opening reception to meet the artist and the curator and view the exhibit. Enjoy original music sung in the Maidu language by The Maidu Independent Theater, a vocal group of Native American singers, from 7 to 7:45 p.m.
On Saturday, Dec. 15, from 2 to 3 p.m., Karah English will talk with Lowry on her engagement with the native community, her new work and the inspiration for the current exhibit, which is sponsored by Far Western Anthropological Research Group.
Arts Grown Locally Panel: This month, we are hosting a free talk by four members of arts organizations centered in Yolo County. On Wednesday, Dec. 12, from 5 to 6:30 p.m., the Pence will be the site of Arts Grown Local, a panel discussion about the vitality and state of the arts in our county.
This past year, our county has seen so many great successes in terms of the arts. The Nelson Gallery received a large naming gift and embarked on plans for a new facility; the Live Music Collective hosted some great new bands in various small and big venues, all organized by volunteers; and the Mondavi Center opened its 10th anniversary season this fall with a bang.
The Davis Art Center had a huge success this summer with two interactive projects incorporating dance and a nature/art exhibit. Yolo Arts hosted a visit by the head of the National Endowment for the Arts, and received an Artsplace grant for its work in the community.
John Natsoulas pioneered an innovative sculpture/mural walk, using digital technology to visitors in new ways, and installed a gallery of public art works throughout downtown Davis. Davis Downtown organized its first Artober, and has grown from organizing five arts venues in 2009 to more than 20 locations for artists, at the Second Friday ArtAbout events.
What does it all mean, when the arts have become more popular than ever, despite the grim economy?
I know that these panelists will shed some light on the subject. Included on the panel are Kyle Monhollen from the Davis Live Music Collective, Erie Vitello from the Davis Art Center, Dani Thomas from Yolo Arts and Jeremy Ganter from the Mondavi Center. The panel will focus on how the arts build a sense of community identity, and how recent economic changes have changed both audiences and what they are interested in.
All are invited to hear what goes on behind the scenes, and to ask questions of panelists. I hope that you will attend!
— Natalie Nelson is executive director and curator of the Pence Gallery. Her column is published monthly.