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Davis, California

Friday, February 23, 2024

Design Museum to display selected undergraduate design pieces

The Annual Picnic Day Design by Design exhibition in the Design Museum will be displaying selected entries submitted by UC Davis undergraduate design students.

Sponsored by the Birgitta and Helge Olson Design Award and the UC Davis Design Museum, the exhibition of undergraduate design pieces will be on display at the Design Museum beginning April 11 and will run through June 5.

Tim McNeil, UC Davis Department of Design chair and associate professor of design, explained that the exhibition’s presentation of undergraduate design talent intentionally coincides with Picnic Day annually because the event’s popularity draws in a large number of interested visitors.

“In terms of outreach and visibility for students, absolutely this is the most important student showcase, and considering all the people connected to the student body or newly visiting, certainly in terms of attendance for the museum, Picnic Day is the biggest day for us,” McNeil said.

McNeil said he and Design Museum Curator Adele Zhang are responsible for the first cut of submissions that are “incomplete or not deemed of a quality worthy of the exhibition.” After this cut, a jury comprised of a design faculty member, a UC Davis faculty member and an external person involved with design will select exceptional pieces from three categories which reflect the growing overlap of design disciplines.

“We’re doing [the judging of works] differently this year. Previously, it was more discipline based, but in keeping with the department [of design] becoming more general and allowing more crosswork, we’ve made the categories two-dimensional work, three-dimensional work and then digital pieces,” McNeil said.

The selections made by the jury will be announced May 30, and the student creators of pieces chosen for award recognition will also receive a monetary prize sponsored by the Birgitta and Helge Olson Design Award.

According to Zhang, the Design Museum’s display of student work has been beneficial for exposure and interest for the entire department.

“I’ve had a few visitors that came to the museum during the spring and when they saw our students’ work on display, it was pretty much that moment that the students made the decision to come here for design,” Zhang said.

Unlike previous years, this year’s exhibition goes on until June 5 because the MFA design students’ exhibition is being moved to another venue, which, as Zhang explained, allows graduating design students a fitting end to their career

“The duration of this exhibition is strategically set during most of the spring where most of the families and prospective students come visit, and ends around senior commencement. Every year I feel like [Design by Design exhibition is getting bigger and better,” Zhang said.

Mark Kessler, assistant professor of interior architecture, considers the exhibition to be both a source of pride and attraction for the UC Davis design program.

“We are showing the surrounding community what we do here at the Department of Design, and also what design is; I think many people are unfamiliar with this scope of disciplines that are included in the word ‘design,’” Kessler said. “I take pride in the work that they produce, and I’m happy to share it with everyone who visits.”

PAUL SANCHEZ can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.


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