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Davis, California

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

‘Cuteware Celebration’ is a light-hearted nod to the importance of playful art

How the showing, as well as others at The Artery, impact the Davis community


By RUMA POUDELL — arts@theaggie.org


The Artery is an artists cooperative located in downtown Davis that features new fine arts and contemporary crafts from local artists every month. From Oct. 28 to Nov. 20, The Artery presented “Cuteware Celebration,” a showing of ceramics and paintings by Heidi Bekebrede. 

Bekebrede is a UC Davis alumna who graduated with a degree in studio art in 1980. She studied under well-known professors such as Bob Arneson, who sculpted the eggheads that can still be spotted on the UC Davis campus, as well as Wayne Thiebad, Roy De Forest and Cornelia Shulz. Bekebrede has also made a positive impact on the community by teaching children’s painting classes in Davis. 

After graduating and moving away decades ago, The Artery was one aspect of Davis that Bekebrede said drew her to move back to the college town. 

“I still love The Artery because it has allowed my artwork to have lots of friends,” Bekebrede said. This outlet has served as a way for many people to discover and enjoy the work of established and emerging local artists. 

One of Bekebrede’s signatures is including eyes in her work, which she said is why a lot of her work has been perceived as “cute.” 

“I kept hearing the word cute. Cute, cute, cute,” Bekebrede said. “I wasn’t sure if I liked that until I looked it up in the dictionary. The first definition was daintily pretty. But, the second definition was shrewdly clever — once I heard that, cuteware it was.” 

Upon entering the Cuteware Celebration exhibit, what stood out immediately was the colorful palette of Bekebrede’s work and the intertwining of ceramics and paintings. 

“I like to have every single color of the rainbow in every one of my pieces,” Bekebrede said. “To me, it’s like eye candy.”

Bekebrede’s work has a playful mood that stems from her personality; she carries a ceramic finger pickle and strings in her purse just in case she runs into any of her students or someone who wants to learn string tricks. 

Her exuberant style not only makes the process of creating art fun for her and fun for us to look at, but it also holds a deeper meaning: the importance of carrying a lighthearted manner throughout life. Bekebrede said that through tough and serious times, maintaining a hopeful mindset and being optimistic enough to accept your tougher feelings allows them to pass by easier. 

For emerging artists, Bekebrede has some advice: “Get some materials, maybe do it with a friend, take a class, maybe sip wine and paint. But get out and just do it.”

For more fine arts stories and showings, you can visit the Artery in downtown Davis or check out their website. Their annual holiday sale will begin on November 22 and their next monthly Art About event will be on the second Friday of December. 


Written by: Ruma Poudell — arts@theaggie.org