Discovery Art Program

The Discovery Art Program encompasses a summer-long series of drop-in and take-home experiences at Davis Arts Center and in locations throughout the community that explore the confluence of art, nature, and science. The program’s free and low-cost activities are spontaneous, fun, and social in nature; creative, artistic and educational; available on evenings or weekends; inter-generational, allowing the entire family to participate; available with no advance planning or time commitment; and accessible to people of all income brackets.

Launched in 2012 through a major grant from the James Irvine Foundation, the inaugural exhibit, created by Rachel Hartsough, was called Cross-Pollination: Sharing Art. Sharing Ideas. The Tsao Gallery was transformed into an interactive Discovery Center where a collection of collaboratively-generated artworks came to life with the support of the local community. Two beautiful large-scale pieces were created during this show: LOOK, a collaborative mural created by four local artists inspired by the natural world, has been displayed locally at Genetech and the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. Off the Grid, made up of more than one hundred individual painted or textured panels created by children, professional artists, and families, is on permanent display at the California Energy Commission in Sacramento.

Discovery Art 2013, also created by Hartsough, was entitled Momentum: Art in Action. Creativity in Motion. This exhibit explored the explosion that happens when art meets science by investigating things that move: flying creatures, bikes, roller coasters, mobiles, Rube Goldberg machines, spirographs and more. The theme for this program was developed out of the belief that the inclusion of the arts into Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education (STEM to STEAM) uniquely fosters both scientific and artistic literacy and meets a need to nurture new generations of creative and innovative citizens. A new Off the Grid project was back by popular demand and another colorful collaborative mural by local artists, Taking Flight, was created in the gallery, where the public could interact with the artists and see the piece emerge. Partners included Paint Bike Fun and Danielle Fodor, who worked with us to create a bike mural in Downtown Davis, and the UC Davis Arboretum, which hosted a fabulous Design + Launch Flight Derby.