Posts Tagged: Donna Billick
It's a wonderful, well-deserved honor that pays tribute to her amazing talents.
Donna Billick, co-founder and co-director of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program and an artist known for crossing disciplines and borders from Davis to Central America to deliver and coax creative expressions, has been selected the staff recipient of the Chancellor’s Achievement Award for Diversity and Community for 2012-2013.
The award recognizes Billick for her “contributions in enhancing inclusiveness and diversity within the campus community," according to Rahim Reed, associate executive vice chancellor, Office of Campus Community Relations.
Billick, a self-described "rock artist," will be honored at a reception in Chancellor Linda Katehi's residence on Feb. 6. The honor includes a $500 monetary award.
“Donna is an exceptional leader who has devoted her life to creating access to the arts and sciences to the broadest communities possible,” said entomology professor Diane Ullman, associate dean for Undergraduate Academic Programs, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
Billick’s art projects not only span the campus and into area communities throughout California, but delve into Mexico and Central and South America.
“She has a remarkable ability to coach novices and help them find confidence in their artistic expression,” said Ullman, who nominated her for the award with three UC Davis Arboretum officials: director Kathleen Socolofsky, assistant director Carmia Feldman, assistant director and senior museum scientist Emily Griswold.
Indeed. We've seen Billick engage children, college students, teachers and grandparents, taking self-professed non-artists and showing them that they, too, can express themselves with art.
The UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, launched in 2006, is a multi-course program with outreach activities involving design faculty, science faculty, museum educators, professional artists and UC Davis students. “Participants see and feel art and science, hold it in their hands, hearts and memories—in ceramics, painting, photographs, music, and textiles,” said Ullman, who previously received the Chancellor's Achievement Award for Diversity and Community in the faculty category.
Billick's work--and the work of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program--can be seen on the UC Davis campus in the Arboretum, Shields Oak Grove and the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, among other sites.
One of the program's most spectacular projects is Nature’s Gallery, a ceramic mosaic mural showcasing plants and insects found in the Arboretum’s Ruth Storer Garden. The U.S. Botanic Garden, Washington, D.C., displayed the mural in 2007; it now has a permanent home in the Storer Garden.
Billick created the six-foot-long honey bee sculpture for the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, and the ceramic mosaic sign that fronts the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road.
Billick founded and directs the Billick Rock Art of Davis, a studio that has brought large-scale public art and community-built art to communities across the nation since 1977. She also launched the Todos Artes, a program providing destination workshops and community-built art in Baja, Mexico, since 2006.
An alumna of UC Davis, Billick toyed with a scientific career before opting for a career that fuses art with science. She received her bachelor of science degree in genetics in 1973 and her master’s degree in fine arts in 1977, studying art with such masters as Bob Arneson, Roy De Forest, Wayne Thiebaud and Manuel Neri.
If you want to know more about how these artists, listen to their TEDx talks posted on YouTube:
Donna Billick with her ceramic mosaic sculpture of a honey bee in the Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The artists would work on the installation daily, then stop and cover the art, resuming only when weather permitted.
The site: the half-acre Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, designed as a year-around food resource for bees, to raise public awareness about the plight of bees, and to show visitors what they can plant in their own gardens. Part of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, it's located just a few yards east of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road, west of the central campus.
For awhile, rain pelted the tarp-covered art. Then the fog rolled in. Not to be outdone, wind tugged at the protective covers, hinting at the beauty beneath.
Finally, the artists finished the installation.
This afternoon, entomologist/artist Diane Ullman, co-director of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program and professor of entomology at UC Davis, unwrapped the two pillars at the front entrance. She also removed the tarps covering the ceramic mosaic-tiled cement planters inside the haven.
Ullman, associate dean in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, co-founded the Art/Science Fusion Program with noted artist Donna Billick of Davis, a self-described "rock artist." Together they direct the program and teach an Entomology 1 class that does just that--fuses art with science.
Last quarter the students studied bees and then developed the art. For many, it was their first attempt at a major art project. They are not art majors. Their majors include managerial economics, genetics, biological sciences, environmental toxicology and chemistry, and wildlife management.
At the end of the quarter, they stood in front of their classmates and discussed what they learned about bees and the obstacles and rewards. (See photos.) They did a fantastic job!
Andrea Wagner, a graduate student in entomology, served as the teaching assistant for the course and also created some of the art. Lending a welcoming hand in the installation was Mark Rivera of Davis, a professional ceramic mosaic artist, whose work includes the carrot sculpture by the Davis Co-Op.
"We couldn't have done the installation without Mark," Ullman said.
Several years ago, Ent 1 students painted the two towers of bee boxes at the entrance. One tower of seven boxes depicted bees inside the hive, and the other tower, bees outside the hive. Unfortunately, the paint began peeling. Subsequently, Ullman and Billick opted for a more permanent art: mosaic ceramic tiles to cover the 14 boxes. As before, one tower depicts activity inside the hive, and the second tower, activity outside the hive.
UC Davis students also created mosaic ceramic panels for two of the three cement planters inside the garden. (The UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program had only enough money for two.)
Meanwhile, the garden has never looked better. The state-of-the-art fence that surrounds the garden is the work of Derek Tully, 17, of Davis, who last summer completed the fence as his Eagle Scout project.
The garden, planted in the fall of 2009, is open to the public from dawn to dusk, year around, for self-guided tours.
Beginning next March 1, Christine Casey (email@example.com) will begin offering guided tours for $4 per person.
Beneath these weather-protective tarps: bee-box pillars. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Entomologist/artist Diane Ullman uncovers a pillar. In the foreground, a bee sculpture created by colleague Donna Billick. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Today was a cold, blustery day but the pillars gleamed in the sunlight. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
This work, showing the developmental stages of a worker honey bee, is by artist Donna Billick. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
It's the Big 4-0 for the Almond Board of California's annual almond industry conference this week.
Some 1000 convention-goers are gathering in the Sacramento Convention Center. The 40th annual conference opened Tuesday, Dec. 11 and runs through Thursday, Dec. 13.
A contingent from the Department of Entomology at the University of California, Davis, is there--including some from chemical ecologist Walter Leal's lab and some from the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility.
Many came to hear U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.
After all, almonds are California's biggest export. With some 750,000 acres of almonds in production in the state, the National Agricultural Statistics Service is forecasting a record-breaking 2.10 billion meat pounds this year, valued at approximately $3 billion. Eighty-percent of the global supply of almonds is grown in California, and about 70 percent of California’s crop is marketed overseas.
Over at the Laidlaw facility, you can't help but notice the sign that graces the entrance. The work of self-described "rock artist" Donna Billick of Davis, it shows a skep, honey bees, DNA strands, and almond blossoms.
Then if you walk a few steps east of the facility to the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, you'll run into the gigantic worker bee sculpture, also the work of Donna Billick. It's a six-foot-long morphologically correct worker bee, right down to the wax glands.
If it appears to be on a pedestal, that's the way it should be. Honey bees, those tiny agricultural workers, pollinate one-third of the food we eat.
As for the almonds, the pollination season begins around Valentine's Day. The orchards will be buzzing. It takes two hives per acre to pollinate California's almond crop.
Sign at the entrance to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis depicts honey bees, a skep, DNA and almond blossoms. It is the work of Donna Billick of Davis (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Fog shrouds the bee sculpture in the Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven. It is the work of Donna Billick of Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Bee working an almond blossom. She's packing her pollen load. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Art made of fungus?
Tales about insects?
That will all take place at “Organism,” an art show fusing art, science and technology, including insect art by young entomologists on the University of California, Davis campus
The date: Tuesday night, Dec. 11.
The time: 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
The place: the Old Nelson Gallery in the UC Davis Art Building.
The event, free and open to the public, is sponsored by the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program.
"Organism" also will include visual, sound, live performance, and a look at a Cabinet of Natural Curiosities (see example on Wikipedia).
“This is a two-part show,” said curator Anna Davidson, a doctoral candidate who teaches for the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, which was launched in 2006 by entomologist Diane Ullman and self-described “rock artist” Donna Billick.
Part One will spotlight artworks created by both artists and scientists on the UC Davis campus. Participating scientists will include Ciera Martinez, Anna Davidson, Brad Townsly, Dan Chitwood and Diane Ullman. Among the artists: Daniel Brickman, May Wilson, Evan Clayburg, Daniel Mendoza, Sarah Julig, Dylan Wright, Donna Billick and Emily Schleiner.
Part One also includes performance art by Allison Fall and a dance performance by Linda Bair Dance Company.
Part Two of the show will feature 15 students from the Entomology 1 class, which is housed in the Art Science Fusion program. “These 15 students have been writing curious tales about insects and illustrating those stories through their art pieces,” Davidson said. “The concept behind their art pieces is based on Cabinets of Curiosities, a pre-Linnaeus collection of curiosities made popular among the affluent in 14th and 15th century Europe.”
“During this show you will experience glow in-the-dark organisms, art made of fungus, large-scale installation, live performance, and sound, art and tales about insects that are so curious they are almost unbelievable!” she said.
The 15 students include Christina Ball, Edna Chen, Alejandra Gonzalez, Whitney Krupp, Danielle Laub, Nina Liu, Huong Nhu Mai, Amy McElroy, Brenda Nguyen, Lawrence Nguyen, Meredith Scarborough, Alison Stewart, Kevin Tran and Hsin Hwei Tsou.
For more information, contact Anna Davidson at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is a Ph.D student in the Horticulture and Agronomy Graduate Group, Department of Plant Sciences.
Entomology student Whitney Krupp at work on her display for the show, "Organism." (Photo courtesy of Anna Davidson)
Close-up shot of Whitney Krupp's art-to-be for the Organism show. (Photo courtesy of Anna Davidson)
Nature's Gallery, a ceramic mosaic mural installed in the UC Davis Arboretum's Ruth Risdon Storer Garden, is gathering lots of visitors--and lots of donors.
This amazing mural by the UC Davis Art Science Fusion Program, directed by entomologist/artist Diane Ullman and self-described "rock artist" Donna Billick, is comprised of more than 140 tiles, all hand-crafted by students, staff, faculty and community members.
Earlier showcased in the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C., where it drew more than 300,000 visitors, it is now "home sweet home" in the UC Davis Arboretum.
The good folks at the UC Davis Arboretum are seeking donors for the remainder of the plants and insects depicted on the mural. It's sort of like "Adopt a Bug" or "Adopt a Plant." Donors' names, or names memoralizing loved ones, are engraved on the wall.
So, back to the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile). The art work is beautiful, but no one has stepped forward to adopt it. Also available are the giant crane fly (Holorusia rubiginosa), the white-lined sphinx moth (Hyles lineata), a scarab (Bolbelasmus horni), and the meadow spittle bug (Philaenus spumarius).
Our family scooped up the shining leaf chafer beetle (Paracotalpa puncticollis), but only because the honey bee (Apis mellifera), our favorite insect, was unavailable. "The honey bee was among the first to go," Ullensvang said. UC Davis alumnus Dr. Jonathan Bowman donated it in memory of his parents.
If you prefer plants to insects, there are a few plants available: acanthus (Acanthus mollis), Cypriot woundwort (Sideritis cypria), black mondo grass (Opiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens'), and Euonymous or “Emerald ‘n Gold” (Euonymus fortunei). (See what's available.)
So, if you're looking for a perfect holiday gift (good cause and lasting legacy), there's an Argentine ant-donor tile that could have your name on it.
Unless, of course, you'd prefer the meadow spittle bug...
Kathleen Socolofsky, director of the UC Davis Arboreteum, at a ceremony honoring the donors. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Colorful plants and insects grace Nature's Gallery. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)