Posts Tagged: UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program
No wonder. The insect, measuring about 1.5 millimeters long, is much smaller than a grain of rice.
Now, however, they can see a teddy-bear-sized version, thanks to a University of California, Davis entomology major Kristina Tatiossian, a member of the Research Scholars Program in Insect Biology.
Through the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, Tatiossian, a junior, crafted a ceramic mosaic sculpture of the tiny walnut twig beetle for her research poster, “Flight Response of the Walnut Twig Beetle, Pityophthorus juglandis, to Aggregation Pheromones Produced by Low Densities of Males.”
The beetle jutting from the poster is so true to form that scientists studying the insect not only readily recognize it, but point out that it’s a female. That includes her mentor, chemical ecologist and forest entomologist Steve Seybold of the Davis-based Pacific Southwest Research Station, USDA Forest Service, and an affiliate of the UC Davis Department of Entomology.
Seybold and Andrew Graves, a former UC Davis researcher with the UC Davis Department of Plant Pathology, who now works for the USDA Forest Service, first detected the newly recognized beetle-fungus disease, known as Thousand Cankers Disease (TCD), in California in 2008. TCD had been detected earlier in Colorado and its impact had been noted even earlier in New Mexico, Oregon, and Utah. TCD and its history are chronicled in a newly revised “Pest Alert” issued by the USDA Forest Service.
Tatiossian accomplished the research project as part of the Research Scholars Program in Insect Biology, which aims to provide undergraduates with a closely mentored research experience in biology. Headed by professor Jay Rosenheim, and assistant professor Louie Yang of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, the program currently has 12 students; students apply when they are freshmen, sophomores or transfer students. Tatiossian joined the program in 2011 and is mentored by Steve Seybold.
Tatiossian completed the ceramic mosaic project over a four-week period. She earlier worked on two UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program projects, including the “Tree of Life,” with the program’s founders, entomologist/artist Diane Ullman and artist Donna Billick. A former Los Angeles resident, Tatiossian will receive her bachelor’s degree in entomology this June and then plans to attend graduate school to study either biochemistry or virology.
Tatiossian will giving an oral presentation on her research at the Pacific Branch, ESA meeting, set for April 7-10 at South Lake Tahoe. Then she will display the poster again in the Undergraduate Research Conference at UC Davis on April 24 in Wellman Hall.
By itself, the beetle, native to Arizona, California, New Mexico and Mexico, does little or no damage. But when coupled with the newly described fungus, Geosmithia morbida, it is killing thousands of walnut trees.
The disease is creating havoc throughout much of the western United States, Seybold said, and is now heading east. Its primary host is the black walnut tree but it also attacks other walnut trees.
“Male WTB initiate new galleries and produce an aggregation pheromone, which can be used to study patterns of initial host colonization behavior of WTB. It has been previously shown by Graves and colleagues (2010) that as the number of males in a branch is increased from 20 to 200, the flight response of males and females is similarly increased,” she wrote. “We investigated flight responses to lower numbers of males in cut branch sections of northern California black walnut, Juglans hindsii.”
Her objective: “To determine the minimum number of males in an artificially infested branch of Juglans hindsii necessary to elicit a flight response from WTB.” She found that as little as one to five males is enough to elicit the aggregation response at her field study sites at two locations in Davis.
The poster will be displayed on the third floor of Briggs Hall, just outside the Department of Entomology’s administration office.
On her poster, Tatiossian credits Seybold; Extension entomologist Mary Louise Flint, associate director for Urban and Community IPM, UC Statewide Integrated Pest Program; entomology graduate student Stacy Hishinuma, and postdoctoral researcher Yigen Chen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology.
And the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program where the tiny walnut twig beetle sprang to life.
Kristina Tatiossian and the ceramic mosaic of a walnut twig beetle. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The poster that Kristina Tatiossian created. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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)
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 email@example.com. 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)
When TED extends an invite, that's a high honor.
Scientists-artists Diane Ullman and Donna Billick, co-founders and co-directors of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, have been invited to speak at the second annual TEDx program hosted at the University of California, Davis.
The theme of the daylong program, set from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, May 19 in Room 1100 of Social Sciences and Humanities Building, is “The Power of Perspective."
Ullman and Billick are among some 14 speakers invited to discuss their research, discoveries or perspectives, which are meant to inform, enlighten and inspire. Each will speak for 15 minutes. Fifteen minutes of fame! (Yes, it's all sold out but it will be livestreamed.)
The UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program "is a pioneering program in the use of an art-science fusion paradigm in undergraduate education and community outreach," Ullman explains.
You can see the program's amazing work around campus, including the exquisitely beautiful Nature's Gallery, a mosaic mural on Garrod Drive, and the earthy bee art in the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road.
Billick, a self-described rock artist whose work is exhibited in many countries of the world, will speak at 3:30 p.m. on "You See. Manifesting the Nature of Education." In addition to being the co-founder and co-director of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, Billick is the director of Billick Rock Art, based in Davis, and the director of Todos Artes in Baja.
Ullman, professor and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and the associate dean for undergraduate academic programs in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, will speak at 3:45 p.m. on “Journey into the Art/Science Borderland: Transformations in Teaching and Learning.”
So, what is TED? It's an acronym that stands for “Technology, Entertainment and Design.” It's basically a global set of conferences providing “riveting talks by remarkable people," according to its website. Launched in 1984 in Monterey, Calif., TED shares and showcases the talks globally.
TEDx, created in the spirit of TED's mission's "ideas worth spreading,” is designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level. These opportunities are intended to spark deep conversations and connections. Indeed, this is participation at its best.
TEDx sponsors charge an attendance/participation fee for the daylong programs (the UC Davis event will include lunch and demonstrations), but the webcasts may be viewed on the internet for free.
When Ullman and Billick present their programs fusing art with science, their work will gain a scope never before imagined.
That's good for science. That's good for art. And that's good for the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program and the UC Davis campus as a whole.
Diane Ullman is right at home as a scientist and an artist. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Artist-scientist Donna Billick with her sculpture of "Miss Bee Haven" at the Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)