On Friday March 8th in Davis, CA, at 4:30pm, the Natsoulas Center will launch its first guided tour based on the new Davis Art Walk map, in conjunction with the Art of Painting in the 21st Century Conference. This free tour will be led by more than 10 of the finest painters and muralists in the country throughout the downtown. Natsoulas plans to coordinate group tours in the future and is organizing a marketing effort to boost art-related visitation.
The Davis Transmedia Art Walk is a free, self-guided, public art wonder that combines the latest technology with art from the top painters and sculptors in the country. It is the only walk of it’s kind in the country. The walk is made up of 23 public murals, 16 sculptures, and 15 galleries and museums all in downtown Davis and the University of Davis campus. Dating back to the 1950’s Davis was the center of the California Art scene. It has been home to art pioneers such as Manuel Neri, Roy DeForest, Wayne Thiebuad, and Robert Arneson. Continuing this legacy is the world-class Mondavi Performing Arts Center, the Davis Mural team, and top-notch art venues such as the Richard Nelson Gallery, the Pence Gallery, and John Natsoulas Center for the Arts, along with the Artery, one of the most enduring of artist cooperatives. Neighboring UC Davis also has one of the biggest art programs in the country.
The art pieces are all within walking distance of each other. The walk is a roughly circuitous path that can be completed within an hour or two. Every piece of art on the Art Walk has been embedded with an RFID chip. If you have a cellphone that supports this technology, you can use free RFID-reader apps such as Microsoft Tag to access multimedia files that relate to each work. You can also leave a comment or “burn your own message” for other visitors to see.
The Davis Transmedia Art tour was the result of community leaders, the Davis Cultural Action Committee, Monto Kumagai and the Bulatag Project, the Davis Mural Team, the John Natsoulas Center for the Arts, and the university coming together to create one of the largest public art collections per square mile of any city in the nation. Though other cities around the globe have attempted to replicate the idea of art walk, none can compete with the unique experience that the Davis walk can provide.