Do you have an opinion? Artist seeks your ideas for city mural

colorful painting of flowers, grass, mountains
An example of one of Caryl Yasko’s community-created art projects–“Prairie Wave,” Polyette, Wisconsin.

Caryl Yasko, nationally-recognized muralist, came to the right place if she’s looking for opinions. She’s been commissioned, through a grant funded by PG&E and obtained by the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden, to create a mural that will become part of the public art collection for the City of Davis.

This is the first of three community art projects that the public will have the opportunity to help create–in addition to this mural there’s a “street mural” planned for the intersection at Fourth and K Streets as well as “art benches” planned for along newly-restored Putah Creek Parkway. It’s all a result of the Community Built Association conference taking place in Davis in early April.

The goals of this project, located in a high-traffic bike and pedestrian throughway connecting Putah Creek Parkway in south Davis with the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden’s newly-constructed California Native Plant GATEway Garden, are numerous—to beautify the environment, to unite two recently-improved areas, to pay homage to the history of the land, the creek, and California flora, and last, but not least, to infuse that certain “je ne sais quoi” for which Davis is known.

It’s a tall order, but Yasko’s specialty is working with communities to help them express their voices.

“Art should be available to everyone,” says Yasko. “My approach as an artist is to serve as a facilitator and make it possible for communities to create their own unique art.”

In order to make this happen, Yasko, in collaboration with the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden, is holding multiple forums where members of the public can brainstorm and develop a theme for the mural. They are also invited to draw, but organizers don’t want that aspect to discourage anyone from participating.

“I only invite participants to draw using the eight elements of line—light, dark, short, think, thin curved and straight,” explains Yasko.“In this environment, lack of formal art training is never bad.”

“We are excited to be hosting Caryl and collaborating with our community on another project,” states Emily Griswold, UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden head of GATEways horticulture and organizer for this event. “This process fits perfectly with our history of collaboration and co-creation.”

Which session(s) should you attend? You are welcome by organizers to attend all nine, or if you have opinions and ideas about what story the mural should tell, attend a theme development workshop. If you are more interested in exploring the artistic qualities of the mural, attend the design development workshops. Interested in checking out the mural’s location and meeting the artist for a few minutes? RSVP for a drop-in session.

Register of any or all of these events via the UC Davis Arboretum website: arboretum.ucdavis.edu. Upon registration you will be kept informed of any event updates by email.

Theme Development Workshops: Brainstorming and Content Development
Refreshments provided by Whole Foods Market Davis

  • Wed., February 19 from 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. 
  • Wed., February 19 from 1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m. 
  • Wed., February 19 from 3:30 p.m. – 5 p.m. 

Design Development Workshops: Group Drawing and Composition Activities
Refreshments provided by Whole Foods Market Davis

  • Thurs., February 20 from 9 a.m. – noon 
  • Thurs., February 20 from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. 
  • Fri., February 21 from 9 a.m. – noon 
  • Fri., February 21 from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. 

Design Drop-in Sessions: Information conversions and activities with the artist on site
Refreshments provided by Whole Foods Market Davis

  • Sat., February 22 from 1:30-5 p.m. 
  • Sun., February 23 from 1:30-5 p.m. 

Like to paint? Yasko doesn’t  just want your ideas. Community members and attendees of the Community Built Association conference will be invited to finalize the project in perpetuity at the end of March and beginning of April. Stay tuned!

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