The City of Davis Arts & Cultural Affairs Program supports community-based arts projects, cultural opportunities, and education initiatives that foster excellence, diversity, and vitality in the arts. The program is the clearinghouse for all creative activity in the City of Davis government, and serves the entire Davis community. We develop community partnerships, explore best practices, manage the public art collection, and support Civic Arts Commission activity and initiatives, including:
- Managing programs for the cultural enrichment of the city.
- Supporting artists & organizations in the cultural arts community.
- Encouraging private initiative in arts & culture.
- Increasing public understanding, appreciation & enjoyment of cultural activities in all arts disciplines.
- Managing guidelines for the acquisition & care of all City-owned Public Art.
- Administering the Poet Laureate program.
- Promoting Arts Education efforts with Davis Joint Unified School District as well as local stakeholders.
- Building community partnerships and providing leadership in the local arts community.
- Promoting collaboration and partnerships with UC Davis students and faculty.
- Partnering with Community Development efforts to integrate Art in long-term civic growth.
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Arts Alliance Davis
The City of Davis Arts and Cultural Affairs Program is proud to work closely with Arts Alliance Davis, a group of dedicated individuals representing artists, arts and civic organizations and presenters, local businesses, and community members in Davis. The Alliance encourages collaboration, promotes the Arts to residents and visitors, and advocates for public and private support of the arts in all facets of our community. The group meets regularly to share resources, offer support and mentoring between organizations, develop partnerships to strengthen our arts community, and brainstorm about how to connect with audiences in new and meaningful ways.
Yolo County Poem of the Year
Please enjoy the following poem by James Lee Jobe, current Davis Poet Laureate. It has been selected as the Yolo Country Poem of the Year by the Yolo County Board of Supervisors. It is a beautiful tribute to the unique natural environment we live in...
Yolo County, Sacramento Valley.
Light in the winter morning,
A gray glow through the tule fog,
A fog that sits low across the bottom lands,
Hugging the creeks and blanketing the reeds and oleander,
A gray sunrise that is just barely kissing the dawn,
And the silver sky is low, all is still,
An easy light, gentle and gray,
A love, a thought, a hope.
And the creeks themselves,
Cache Creek and Putah Creek,
Dark and cold and fast,
Rinsing the earth,
Washing away the dust of summer with winter’s bath,
Like dancers to a wild Spanish mambo,
Sisters of the rock and bone of living,
The blood veins to the body of the valley,
As strong as gods, full of life,
And full of death.
The valley is a marsh,
A garden for herons and waterbirds,
A green grocer for any who would tend it, love it,
Treat it like a mother or a daughter,
The soil made rich and sweet from the centuries spent under water,
When this valley was a great sea,
From water to soil to table to stomach,
Worked with love.
It is winter,
It is morning,
Another fine day in our valley.
Think Outside the Box 2019
Congratulations to the selected artists for Think Outside the Box 2019!
This fall, the City of Davis invited area artists to submit* qualifications for an upcoming public art installation series, Think Outside the Box. This project will be similar to the already painted utility and traffic control boxes in downtown Davis, but the use of printed vinyl will provide opportunities to showcase the artwork of more artists and designers in a wider range of media including paint, photography, graphic design, illustration, and mixed media. The City highly encouraged submission of artwork from artists who had not created public art in the past. A $500 honorarium will be awarded to each selected artist.
Artists have now been selected by committee and will be working with City staff to carry out their final designs. Expect to see the beautiful new boxes in Spring 2019. Selected proposals demonstrated high quality design and originality, with work that will enhance the surrounding areas of the boxes.
Sandy Fong Whetstone
To view a similar project in our region, please see the Capitol Box Art Project in Sacramento.
*The application deadline for this call was Monday, October 15th, 2018, at 5:00 P.M.
Congratulations 2019 Art Grant Recipients!
The Arts & Cultural Affairs program is pleased to award $66,512 to artists and arts organizations in Davis for projects taking place in 2019-2020. The City of Davis is excited to announce the following Community Arts Grant recipients:
ACME Theatre Company / Free Comedy in the Park / $4,240
Asian American Studies / Asian American Histories in the Davis Community / $5,000
Bike City Theatre Company / Salon Reading Series / $5,000
Chamber Players in Davis / 2019 Season / $2,400
Davis Community Chorale / Audience & Public Profile Development / $4,584
Davis Dirt / Music Day 2020 / $4,000
Davis Musical Theater Company / Educational Workshops at DMTC / $4,000
Judy Catambay / Elmwood Drive Street Mural / $5,000
International House / Global Family Festivals / $5,000
Mga Kapatid / Semi-Centennial Anniversary / $5,000
Ken Kemmerling & Donna Jury / Live Music at Davis Community Meals / $5,000
Paint the Street, Danielle Fodor / A DIY Manual for artists and organizers / $5,000
Pence Gallery / Make Stuff / $5,000
Second Bite / The Wisdom of the Apple / $4,888
Stories on Stage Davis / 2019 Program / $2,400
The City of Davis is pleased to support artists and arts organizations through a program that provides funds for a wide variety of community-based arts programs and projects that foster excellence, diversity, and vitality in the arts. Art grants have been awarded to the Davis community since 1973.
Applicants who meet one or more of the following criteria may apply: Davis art groups, organizations and galleries, members of the university community who are extending on-campus activities into the City of Davis, non-profit organizations that want to sponsor an art-related program in Davis, and individual artists and arts educators who live in Davis or the surrounding unincorporated area, or whose primary artistic activity is in Davis. All projects must take place in the City of Davis.
The Arts Commission welcomes projects of all sizes. Applicants selected for funding receive from $500 to $5,000. All funded projects must be completed by June 30, 2020. The application deadline for this year is now closed.
Please subscribe to our Civic Arts calendar to receive notifications of upcoming opportunities.
2019 Community Arts Grant Guidelines can be viewed and downloaded here.
For questions, further information please call the City Manager’s Office at 530-757-5640.
Please subscribe to our Civic Arts Commission calendar to receive notifications of upcoming opportunities.
A helpful WORD version of the application can be accessed here: 2019 Community Arts Grant Application Guidelines
Art in Parks & Open Spaces
Kids channel Andy Goldsworthy and plant natives with Putah Creek Council
The Putah Creek Council's Adopt-a-Flat program teaches students about plant and wildlife interactions through an ownership project, in-class lessons, and a field trip to Putah Creek or a local habitat area. Students seed and raise flats of native plants in the classroom while learning about how these plants grow, affect their environment, and provide resources for wildlife. After watching their plants grow from seed to sprout, students carefully install them on their field trip while learning about the other plants and animals at the creek, and how we can take care of the natural world. Below, children from Elkhorn Village Elementary carry out their native plant installation, as well as draw inspiration from land artist Andy Goldsworthy to further connect with the Putah Creek landscape.
Photos courtesy of Putah Creek Council
Poetry In Motion
In December of 2018, City of Davis Poet Laureate James Lee Jobe and the Arts & Cultural Affairs program collaborated to create the first installation of Poetry in Motion. This project promotes accessibility to poetry by placing it in high visibility public spaces. Poetry collections are curated by Jobe and feature local poets. To view the current installation, stop by the old Watermelon Music building, next to Philz Coffee on E Street.
Featured Poets:Julia Levine, Katy Brown, Beth Suter, Allegra Silberstein, Andy Jones, and James Lee Jobe
On October 20, 2009 the City Council, wishing to encourage reflection upon the richness and diversity of the people, locations and traditions of the City of Davis established a two-year, honorary position of Poet Laureate of Davis, California. The Poet Laureate encourages the reading, writing, sharing and celebration of poetry.
The City of Davis is pleased to announce that James Lee Jobe has been selected as our city's next Poet Laureate. Jobe is our city's 4th Poet Laureate. He will be inducted at a City Council ceremony on September 25th, 2018, and his term will run through September 2020.
James Lee Jobe has been published in Chiron Review, Manzanita, Tule Review, Pearl, Poetry Now, and many other periodicals. His online publications include Convergence, Knot Magazine, Poetry 24, Medusa’s Kitchen, bloodsugarpoetry, and The Original Van Gogh Anthology. His poems are in several anthologies, including SACRAMENTO VOICES, and HOW TO BE THIS MAN. Jobe has authored several chapbooks, including WHAT GOD SAID WHEN SHE FINALLY ANSWERED ME, and his blog is at james-lee-jobe.blogspot.com. Jobe hosts two on-going poetry reading series and teaches a poetry workshop in Davis, California, where he has lived for many years.
Poet Laureate predecessors include Dr. Andy Jones, Allegra Silberstein and Eve West-Bessier.
New Art Acquisitions
The Civic Arts Commission is pleased to announce the acquisition of several new works of art into the City's collection:
Burka Boarder, Finley Fryer, 2010 (gift of the John Natsoulas Gallery)
Collaboration, 2012, built by California ceramic college students, (gift of the John Natsoulas Gallery)
Gandhi Peace Statue, 2014, Ram Sutar (gift of the Indian-American Community of Davis)
Regal Cinema Benches, Donna Billick, Wes Horn, Mark Rivera, 2014
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Follow the link and select Civic Arts Commission to stay up to date on requests for proposals (RFPs) and upcoming calls.
Just a few City of Davis public art commissions by local artists...
Will Durkee: In the Key of Davis painted piano, Davis Food Co-Op
Danielle Fodor: Central Park painted utility box for the Farmer’s Market 40th Anniversary Celebration
Will Durkee: In the Key of Davis painted piano, Hunt Boyer Mansion plaza
Davis Arts Calendar
There are several great resources for finding the latest and greatest arts events, exhibits, performances, and activities in the Davis area and beyond. Take your pick:
In 1973, the City created the Art in Public Places Program, and has since set aside 1% of all public funds allocated for Capital Improvement Projects to purchase art that enhances the quality of the Davis environment. Artists selected through this program represent a diversity of style and media. Sculpture, murals, paintings, tile work, and functional pieces are located around the city to enhance the quality of life for all Davis residents and visitors.
Public Art Walking Tour and Gallery Guide
We are pleased to be updating our map and guide to Public Art in Davis, with the support of Marc Hoshovsky and the UC Davis Design Department. Check out maps and images of public art here, and stay tuned for an updated map and walking guide--coming soon!
Our guide to public art and galleries provides information on public art around Davis and descriptions of galleries and local arts resources. Print copies of the guide can be found at city offices and many art galleries, or you can download a copy here: Public Art Walking Tour and Gallery Guide.
Arts in the News!
Learn more about all of the exciting developments in the City’s Arts & Cultural Affairs Program:
- Davis Cherry Blossom Festival will be biggest yet (Davis Enterprise, March 4, 2019)
- Yolo Magazine: Art is everywhere in Davis (2019) (Davis Enterprise, February 6, 2019)
- Stories on Stage Davis will feature short fiction by Jamel Brinkley and Nick White (Davis Enterprise, February 1, 2019)
- County Supervisors select 'poem of the year' (Davis Enterprise, February 1, 2019)
- Arts Alliance views ways to respond to community trauma (Davis Enterprise, January 23, 2019)
- MLK Event Brings Voices Together (Davis Enterprise, January 9, 2019)
- Art reinvented: Smartphone pictures take a stylish turn in museum show (Sac Bee, November 7, 2018)
- Davis 'Elemental' mural a new artistic landmark (Davis Enterprise, October, 2018)
- Name droppers: Labbe-Renault takes over Arts Alliance (Davis Enterprise, October 9, 2018)
- For 'RENT': DMTC looks to optimize its space (Davis Enterprise, October 2, 2018)
- North Davis gears up to paint giant 'Elemental' street mural (Davis Enterprise, September 26, 2018)
- Community Comes Together for Mural Project (Davis Enterprise, August, 2018)
- Make Music Davis returns on June 21st (Davis Enterprise, June, 2018)
- A Statement of Love (California Aggie, June 10, 2018)
- Summer brings Shakespeare, Sunflowers to town (Davis Enterprise, May, 2018)
- Speaking of Poet Laureates (UC Davis Arts Blog, April 2018)
- Art is Everywhere in Davis (Yolo Magazine Winter/Spring 2018)
- Artists gather to share new ideas, talents (Davis Enterprise, January 31, 2018)
- City arts grants fund art, music, theatre, dance programs (Davis Enterprise, January, 2018)
- Local Arts Groups Share Information with networking Group (Davis Enterprise, December 16, 2017)
- Public Art in Davis Poses a question: what do you want to do before you die? (Fox 40 TV, November, 2017)
- New Arts Alliance Connects, unites, fosters creative minds (Davis Enterprise, November 25, 2017)
- Last Wishes, realized (Davis Enterprise, November 17, 2017)
- A Whole Lot of Good luck (Davis Enterprise, November 14, 2017)
- Butterflies Soar at Park (Davis Enterprise, November 10, 2017)
- East Davis Mural brings smile to our faces (Davis Enterprise, October 27, 2017)
- A Piece of Burning Man is coming to Davis (Davis Enterprise, October 21, 2017)
- Piano Man Lifts Hearts of all who pass by (Davis Enterprise, October 20, 2017)
- Before I Die...Art Wall Inspires Davis Locals (California Aggie, September 28, 2017)
- Street Mural brings East Davis Community Together (Davis Enterprise, August 29, 2017)
- Video: In the Studio- How the Davis Art Map Project Started (DCTV, August 1, 2017)
- Celebrate Summer on the Green (Davis Enterprise, July 28, 2017)
- Public Piano gets a new Paint Job (Davis Enterprise, July 1, 2017)
- Community street, path mural projects gets state funding (Davis Enterprise, June 24, 2017)
- Public Pianos out of Hibernation for the Summer (Davis Enterprise, June 14, 2017)
- Davis Art Map Arose From a need to Sit (Davis Enterprise, June 15, 2017)
- Davis Arts Center: Music, Exhibits, Inspiration Await you this Summer (Davis Enterprise, June 17, 2017)
- City Announces Community Arts Grant Awards (Davis Enterprise, March 13, 2017)
- Davis Media Access: Is a vision for the future taking shape? (Davis Enterprise, February 2, 2017)
- Next generation DHS Grad Tackles Migrant Issues with Short Film (Davis Enterprise, December 23, 2016)
- Drawing the Lines of Community Ideals (California Aggie, November 13, 2016)
- Vandalism of Public Piano Hits a Sour Note (Davis Enterprise, November 11, 2016)
- Mural Spruces up Davis Manor Neighborhood (Davis Enterprise, October 22, 2016)
- Davis Manor Mural Photos (Davis Enterprise, October 12, 2016)
- Mayor Davis Steals Back Gandhi Show from Protesters (The Davis Vanguard, October 3, 2016)
- Remembering Gandhi (Davis Enterprise, October 5, 2016)
- Street Art (Davis Enterprise, August 6, 2016)
- City receives Creative California Communities grant (Davis Enterprise, July 17, 2016)
- Public pianos return for summer musical fun (Davis Enterprise, June 19, 2016)
- Street pianos fill Davis with sweet melodies (KCRA 3, June 15, 2016)
- City Hall gets a design makeover from UCD students (Davis Enterprise, May 27, 2016)
- Painted utility box project celebrates Davis Farmers Market (California Aggie, May 19, 2016)
- Local art sees a big boost from city grants (Davis Enterprise, March 6, 2016)
Arts in Private Development
There is an abundance of research supporting the essential role public art plays in enhancing the quality of life for all individuals living, working, and visiting a community. The tangible impact on social climate, walkability, real estate pricing, public safety, and community pride cannot be ignored. To support the work of local private developers, we have collected resources from other cities and associations that address the benefits of inclusion of public art in private developments. For more information, or support in your project, please contact our Arts & Cultural Affairs staff at firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 757-5640.
Civic Arts Commission
The Civic Arts Commission advises the City Council on all matters relating to art and culture in the community, and selects art to include in the city's art in public places collection. The commission encourages programs and methods that support creative activities to the highest standards, as well as increase public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of a variety of art forms.
If you are interested in applying for future openings on the Civic Arts Commission, you can get more information here: http://cityofdavis.org/city-hall/city-council/commissions-and-committees/apply-to-serve-on-a-city-commission
To receive meeting agendas, announcements, and project RFPs by email please subscribe to eNotifications by selecting the Civic Arts Calendar option.
City Supported Programs
The City's Arts & Cultural Affairs program is proud to support and/or partner with a wide range of locally produced creative community programs:
- Davis Shakespeare Festival
- Davis Live Music Collective
- Ground & Field Theatre Festival
- Mellon Music Festival
The Civic Arts Program works with other agencies and organizations to promote arts in the community.