Nature’s Gallery Right at Home in Storer Garden
April 20, 2012
|Nature's Gallery, a mosaic mural of interlocking tiles featuring insects and plants, is now installed in the Storer Garden, UC Davis Arboretum. Click to enlarge. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)|
DAVIS--Nature’s Gallery, the colorful project of the Art/Science Fusion Programthat drew raves in Washington, D.C., has a new home—a forever home.
The stunning mosaic mural of 140 ceramic tiles depicting plants and insects once graced the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. Now it’s a permanent part of the Ruth Storer Garden, UC Davis Arboretum, on Garrod Drive. It anchors what is to be Nature's Gallery Court.
A grand opening for donors, honorees, project supporters and their guests is scheduled on Saturday, June 9 from 10 a.m. to noon.
The mosaic mural drew more than 300,000 visitors when it was displayed in the summer of 2007 in the U.S. Botanic Garden on the Capitol Mall, Washington, D.C.
Handcrafted by UC Davis staff, faculty and community members, under the umbrella of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, it features interlocking tiles showing the diversity of plants and insects in California.
The installation in the Storer Garden is nearing completion, according to Diane Ullman and Donna Billick, co-founders and directors of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program. The last remaining part: the donor tiles.
|Close-up of mosaic murals. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)|
Donors who contribute either $500 for an insect tile (6x8 inches) or $1500 for a plant tile (16x21 inches) will have their names etched on a tile on the donor wall. Each tile will be inscribed with the scientific name of the insect or botanical name of the plant, along with the donor name(s). At the onset, 76 plant tiles and 54 insect tiles were available, but as of Friday, April 27, only a few remain. (See website for information on what's available or contact Suzanne Ullensvang, resource development manager at (530) 752-8324 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Art-Science Fusion program includes design faculty, science faculty, museum educators, professional artists, and UC Davis students. Ullman is a professor and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and associate dean for undergraduate academic programs at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Billick is a self-described "rock artist." Among her work: the ceramic bee sculpture in the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven at UC Davis.
|Western tiger swallowtail, Papilio rutulus, adorns the wall. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)|
The Ruth Risdon Storer Garden, named for Yolo County’s first pediatrician and an avid gardener, is designed for year-round color with low water use and low maintenance. It includes many Arboretum All-Stars, or recommended plants for Valley-wise gardens.
The project attracted nationwide publicity when Ullman and Billick were invited to display the interlocking mural in the U.S. Botanic Garden to reveal “the relevance of public gardens to the future of our nation,” a botanical garden spokesperson said.
Information from the UC Davis Arboretum website: "With no admission fee, the UC Davis Arboretum is open and accessible to hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. In addition, many people hold important events in the Arboretum gardens. Nature’s Gallery Court, near the White Flower Garden and Gazebo and the nationally-significant Shields Oak Grove, will host celebrations and special events year round. The Court will also serve as an integral part of the Arboretum’s youth and adult education programs."
"The Court is also a celebration of collaboration. Its overall design was created by landscape architect and UC Davis alumnus Ron Lutsko, recent recipient of an Award of Excellence from the American Society of Landscape Architects. His plan highlights the Nature’s Gallery mural—a creation of many hands—through a collaboration between the UC Davis Arboretum and the Art-Science Fusion Program created by associate dean and entomology professor Diane Ullman of the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and renowned artist Donna Billick, a graduate of the UC Davis Art Department."
--Kathy Keatley Garvey
UC Davis Department of Entomology