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Davis, California

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Aggie Public Arts Committee livens up campus

The Aggie Public Arts Committee (APAC) was established in 2010 as a subcommittee of ASUCD. Since then, they have been involved in various activities on campus.

“When I joined two years ago, the big project was to repaint the bike circles,” said Rachel Du, a fourth-year international relations and comparative literature double major who also serves as the chair for APAC. “We also commissioned the mural in the study lounge in the ARC in addition to our normal gallery installments in the CoHo.”

The latest gallery that APAC organized for the CoHo is “Paint Your World,” an exhibition of maps painted by UC Davis students from all over the world that will be on display until Jan. 7. The maps were initially painted as part of an event for International Education Week.

Shehzad Lokhandwalla, a third-year computer science major and ASUCD senator-elect, helped organize the event and even took part in it.

“The only part of my map that was close to accurate was India, because I had been drawing it throughout high school,” Lokhandwalla said in an email. “I perhaps drew the other continents as big turds.”

The map by Byron Lainez, a third-year international relations major from El Salvador, was voted as the best and will be gifted to the Provost.

In a statement with the painting, Lainez explained why his map used geometric shapes.

“The world today is no longer natural,” Lainez said in an email. “We have shaped the world into one that is very industrialized and technological.”

APAC’s next project will be to paint a mural in the bike tunnel near the Segundo dormitories. APAC is being assisted by Patrick Sheehan, a Student Assistent to the Chancellor who was also their former ASUCD senate representative.

“The idea is to make it a community project, which will probably open at the beginning of Winter Quarter,” Sheehan said. “It will be an open call for mural designs but we’ll advertise to the freshmen. A group of us will pick the best three or four designs and present them on MyUCDavis for a vote, with the winning design being painted in the tunnel.”

Du wants the project to unify various aspects of the community.

“We’ll get student designers to get together and collaborate on a single vision,” Du said. “We’ll have the community unite to paint the mural and make it very nice. I hope to complete it before Picnic Day so that returning alumni can see it.”

Du described her experience on APAC as a life-changing time.

“Chairing this committee helped me figure out what I wanted to do,” Du said. “I realized I have a talent for art administration and that I want to do museum curation in the future. It’s also nice to notice that I had a positive visual impact on campus as well as people’s reactions to the paintings you commissioned.”

Sheehan believes that, while ASUCD groups vary every year in their ability to get things done, APAC has been relatively successful at achieving its goals.

“They’re as good as the people who chair them that year,” Sheehan said. “APAC is relatively new but they’ve done some fantastic things already, like art bombing downtown this year. I don’t think groups like these are guaranteed to implement successful policies all the time, but they’re occasionally very successful and so having them doesn’t hurt.”

Du believes that APAC’s goal is to highlight art on campus.

“We’re a science school with an art culture, but we don’t shine enough light on our art students,” Du said. “I felt like the presence of public art on campus was not strong, so I was glad I was able to draw attention to it by chairing APAC. It shows that Davis is very diverse.”


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