A public reception celebrating the work of UC Davis entomology students and the accomplishments of Donna Billick, co-founder and co-director of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, will take place from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, June 6, in the Third Space, 946 Olive Drive.
The event, titled “Seeing the Invisible: Art and Insects,” is free and open to the public.
Billick, a self-described “rock artist,” co-founded the program with entomologist/artist Diane Ullman, professor and former chair of the UCD entomology department and former associate dean for Undergraduate Academic Programs in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
Ullman and Billick began teaching classes in the mid-1990s that led to the formation of the Art/Science Fusion Program. The program today includes design faculty, science faculty, museum educators, professional artists and UCD students.
“Participants see and feel art and science, hold it in their hands, hearts and memories — in ceramics, painting, photographs, music, and textiles,” Ullman said.
The program, developed initially in the department of entomology and nematology, is described as “an innovative teaching program that crosses college boundaries and uses experimental learning to enhance scientific literary for students from all disciplines.”
It promotes environmental literacy with three undergraduate courses, a robust community outreach program, and sponsorship of the Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous.
One of the program’s most visible and “wow!” projects is the 2,500-pound mosaic art, “Nature’s Gallery,” in the Storer Garden at the UCD Arboretum. Showcasing the interaction of insects and plants, it’s a product of the Entomology 1 class and community outreach. It was initially displayed at the U.S. Botanical Garden in Washington, D.C., and at the California State Fair.
Another project that draws much attention and acclaim is the art in the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre bee garden on Bee Biology Road, west of the central campus.
Billick created “Miss Bee Haven,” a 6-foot-long honey bee sculpture that anchors the garden. “I like to play with words,” she said.