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Davis, California

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Support local art in Davis

All artists should be compensated for their work and time

Whether it is dancing at a concert, reading poetry, perusing a gallery or watching a film, almost everyone can find a way to enjoy and appreciate art. Local art is especially important to celebrate and support. Smaller artists must be celebrated as their work provides unique perspectives, often very different than mainstream art and pop culture.

Throughout the pandemic, we missed opportunities to see live art and music, and as the world returns to normalcy, the Editorial Board is so happy to visit art galleries, markets, museums and music venues once again. With the pandemic being especially hard-hitting on the arts, now more than ever is a time to support local artists and spaces. 

Artists should be paid fairly for their work. Some say there’s “an assumption that artists can and should work for free,” which we believe should not be the case. Just like other jobs, artists should be adequately compensated for their time and effort. When attending free galleries, concerts or shows, some artists ask for donations — we strongly encourage everyone to offer this support if feasible. If you cannot purchase their work or donate, showing up to their events, posting on social media or promoting them via word of mouth is also very helpful for growing artists. 

If you’re interested in supporting the local art scene, check out the many small venues, galleries, theaters, art markets and more that host frequent events in Davis. The Pence Gallery, John Natsoulas Gallery and The Artery are just a few of the local art galleries we recommend checking out in Downtown Davis. If you want to support student artists, the Basement Gallery is run by undergraduates and features exhibitions of student work. The Varsity Theatre, which is over a century old, features smaller films and offers a more intimate experience than larger chain theaters. Armadillo Music is locally owned and sells records from many smaller artists.

Local DIY shows are a great way for students to engage with local musicians, many of them students, and also support smaller traveling artists. Turtle House, the well-loved blue house on 2nd Street, hosts semi-regular shows in their basement and on the porch. Their Picnic Day shows featuring a long bill of artists are especially enjoyable. The Domes, a co-op housing community based on the principles of “affordable living and learning,” also host music shows both inside the classic round structures and on the surrounding land.

Lastly, art markets are an enjoyable way to meet local artists and browse through their work. The Davis Craft and Vintage Fair, held at Central Park two Sundays a month, features local vendors, homemade arts and crafts as well as vintage clothing. Additionally, if you are already downtown for the Farmers Market, you can check out the Davis Art Market, which occurs every Saturday on 3rd and B Street. This community-organized market offers a space for local artists to sell paintings, jewelry, stickers, music, clothes, zines and more.

While this list does not include all of the amazing spaces for local artists, it provides some suggestions for where to seek out the local art scene. At The Aggie, we acknowledge the importance of local art, and we strive to ensure our coverage includes smaller artists, bands, art markets as well as DIY venues and galleries in Davis. Through our Couch Concerts, we provide a space for local musicians to share their work and reach new audiences.

Enjoying art is a wonderful way to destress, learn new things, build community and celebrate work created by others. By compensating artists for their work and effort, the local art scene can continue to flourish in Davis and elsewhere. And by attending local art fairs, galleries, music venues and shows, we can help support and promote the work of smaller creators who would likely appreciate it much more than larger, mainstream artists. 

Written by: The Editorial Board


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