Community members who attend our annual Pence Gallery Garden Tour always enjoy the variety of plants, designs and uses of the selected gardens. This year’s tour, which runs from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, May 6, continues to sample an area of Davis, this time Central Davis.
Eight gardens were selected around the streets of Oak Avenue and Parkside Drive by our Garden Tour committee, and while they vary in size, they all share an interest in the power of change.
It’s often said that gardens are never finished, but always works in progress, yet this year’s gardens include spaces that have undertaken some really big revisions. One garden owner decided to pull out her lawn and install vegetable beds and animal pens to feed her family year-round.
Another gardener got tired of his swimming pool, choosing to fill it in and create a tiered area for plantings. Several selected gardens revamped their older landscaping to include secret play areas for kids, nesting spots for birds and charming bridges to link green areas.
The Garden Tour, now in its 21st year, celebrates the beauty of the outdoor living spaces in Davis, and the people who create and maintain them. As the Pence Gallery’s main spring fundraiser, all event proceeds go toward supporting our education and exhibit programs.
Last year, the ballery welcomed nearly 16,000 visitors, including more than 1,100 school children through its ArtSmart program. Tickets are $20 for members, $25 for nonmembers, $28 the day of the event, and are sold at Newsbeat, 514 Third St.; Redwood Barn Nursery, 1607 Fifth St.; Beyond the Garden Gate, 1015 Olive Drive; and the Pence Gallery, 212 D St. and www.pencegallery.org. So buy them now to save, or become a member for a hefty discount.
Not to be missed on the tour are the complimentary homemade cookies, fruit and beverages, or the silent auction at our host garden on Oak Avenue. This year’s donations from individuals and businesses are amazingly creative, from wine-tasting parties to Mediterranean dinners, to more traditional offers like fitness memberships and classes (perhaps for after those feasts).
Our event sponsors include Tandem Properties, Andy Gagnon Landscaping, MAK Design + Build, Luke Design, Blake’s Heating & Air, Ike’s Landscapes, Beyond the Garden Gate, First Northern Bank, Morse Remodeling, Margot Anderson, Landscape Architect and Joni Wilson/Inside Out.
Artists have crafted instruments from clay or wood for generations. On Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m., in connection with our “Seeing Sound” exhibit, artist and songwriter Heidi Bekebrede will teach youngsters how to build a maraca instrument, which they’ll decorate for later firing. She also will demonstrate some of her own instruments.
Kids can have a chance to see and hear some of the great art downstairs in the “Seeing Sound” exhibit. To register, call (530) 758-3370 by Friday. The cost is $9 general and $7 for Pence members, and includes firing.
“Seeing Sound,” our current display of paintings, sculpture, installation and video by seven regional artists and musicians, continues through April 15. Don’t miss our last artist talk with Sam Nichols and Robin Hill, from 6 to 6:30 p.m. Friday, April 13, during the Second Friday ArtAbout.
They’ll talk about their interactive piece, “You are the medium is the message.” All I can say about this piece is that you (the viewer) is needed for this piece to work, and it’s a lot of (noisy) fun to make it work.
“Seeing Sound” includes paintings and sculpture by Dean Moniz, as well as installation pieces by Jiayi and Shih-Wen Young, including my favorite, “Points of Light.” Triggered by the shadow of a visitor’s hand, the lights are color-coded to connect to a score of “Points of Light” by Stephen Thompson.
It’s a silent composition, but once you hear it (bring your smartphone), you’ll understand that the Youngs are connecting musical notes to specific colors, creating a multi-sensory experience akin to that of synesthesia.
Another part of the exhibit, and not to be missed, is “Plexus,” the first full-screen video ever displayed at the Pence, by Rachel Clarke and Stephen Blumberg. It’s a mesmerizing, layered piece, of web-like tendrils and circles, created from a digital image of a dilapidated pile of tires at an old house.
Although originating in a photograph of a real, man-made object, this video creates a whole new world that frankly resembles the natural world. The electronic music composed by Blumberg, characterized as “tingly” and “sparkly” by some of our younger visitors, only heightens the sense of organic movement seen on screen.
We hope to see you this month in the gallery, or next month for the Garden Tour, out and about in Davis!
— Natalie Nelson is curator and executive director of the Pence Gallery. Her column is published monthly.