Spend your summer at the Davis Art Center

By From page A5 | February 22, 2012

Kids and adults will be invited to participate in the Discovery Art project this summer at the Davis Art Center, an interactive, inter-generational gallery exhibit developed through a grant from the James Irvine Foundation. Rachel Hartsough/Courtesy photo

Craving summer? The warm weather is still months away, but you can curb the winter blues by planning your summer activities now.

Luckily, the Davis Art Center’s summer catalog is coming out soon. Look for it in The Davis Enterprise on March 22, or stop by the Art Center at 1919 F St. to pick up a copy.

Our programming includes the return of our popular kids’ mini-camps — classes that meet for a couple hours a day for one- to three-week sessions. They’re a great option for kids to get creative and hang out with friends during summer break, while still allowing families the flexibility to schedule vacations together.

This summer, we’re also launching Discovery Art, an exciting new interactive, inter-generational gallery exhibit developed through a grant from the James Irvine Foundation. The program was created in response to a survey done in 2010 that gave the Art Center valuable feedback about the kinds of arts experiences our community is looking for.

“The survey told us that parents in our community believe that creativity is an important facet of their children’s education and of their own continued learning, which isn’t necessarily surprising,” said Executive Director Erie Vitiello.

“But we also learned that a majority want programming that can involve the entire family without requiring a large time commitment. They are looking for activities that are entertaining and provide opportunities to socialize as well as being artistic or creative.”

“Cross-Pollination,” this summer’s Discovery Art program, has been designed by project director Rachel Hartsough to encourage the sharing of ideas, art and imagination across disciplines, between people and throughout the community. It will feature three installments in the Tsao Gallery that will evolve over the course of several weeks with participation from the community.

On one wall, a large, gridded image will come into focus and transform into a unique work as individual participants recreate each grid using different artistic techniques and mediums.

On another, local artists — in an observable live-painting style — will continually add their personal touches to a mural inspired by our surrounding natural environment.

The third installment will be a display of natural materials collected in glass jars. Community members will be asked to find small treasures — seed pods, grasses, leaves, pine needles, bark, stones, sand, dirt, flower petals, crystals, shells and berries, for example — to place in a jar on a shelf in the gallery.

Drawing materials and magnifying glasses will be available on an accompanying table for visitors to illustrate what they see. The completed drawings will be displayed on the same wall as the jar collection.

Admission will be free and community members of all ages will be encouraged to visit several times to participate and see the installments change over time. Related activities are still being developed, some to be offered through partner organizations, including the UC Davis Arboretum.

“The Discovery Art program will give more people the opportunity to enjoy artistic expression and to share their creativity with others,” Vitiello said. “If it’s successful we hope to bring it back year after year.”

Many of this summer’s mini-camps, like Botanical Illustration, tie in to the “Cross Pollination” nature theme. If your child loves the outdoors, the Eco-Art Mini-Camp mixes nature exploration and art. Youngsters who enjoy handcrafting might try Fun with Felt: Into the Pond, which will focus on recreating California wetlands scenes on felt rugs or hangings, or this year’s Junior Junk2Genius camp which will have a garden theme.

Other fun new camps include kite-making and fountain-building. And for the first time we’ll partner with Acme Theatre Company to offer its summer drama camps.

Old favorites — like Fairy Camp, Pirate Camp, Harry Potter Wizard Camp and Mini-Musicals — are also on the calendar, as well as our usual full range of multidisciplinary weekly classes for all age groups.

Summer is always a great time at DAC, but we have even more going on this year than usual. We hope you’ll join us for a class, a camp or a fun art-based family outing!

— Crystal Lee is the publicity and development manager at the Davis Art Center. Her column is published monthly.

Crystal Lee

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