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Davis, California

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Two additional public art installations coming to Veterans Memorial Theatre and San Marino Park this spring

The art pieces are the latest installments in the city of Davis’s “Art in Public Places” collection


By ANTHONY W. ZAMMIKIEL  — city@theaggie.org


On Feb. 23, the city of Davis announced that two additional public art pieces were scheduled to be installed at the Veterans Memorial Theatre and San Marino Park this upcoming spring. The pieces will be the latest contributions to the ever-increasing “Art In Public Places” collection that the city of Davis maintains and updates. 

The two pieces, titled “Balance Beam” and “Frog Totem,” were created by artist Cedric Wentworth and sculptor Mary Fuller McChesney and are scheduled to be finished and introduced to the Davis community at an undisclosed date and time this spring. 

“Balance Beam” was created in 1999 and has been on display for more than two decades at the intersection located between 5th Street and Pole Line Road, but will now be displayed at the northern lawn of the Veterans Memorial Theatre. 

Measuring 6’ x 21’ x 5’ and built from steel and bronze, this piece is an example of the postmodern sculpture work Wentworth is known for that combines abstracted figurative subject matter with industrial structures,” according to the announcement released by the city.

The second installation, “Frog Totem,” was created in 2008. This installation will be an entirely new addition to the public art scene in Davis and will be installed behind San Marino Park on the patio edge that borders the beginning of the greenspace located south of the park.

“The roughly eight foot tall concrete composite piece is a whimsical tribute to our natural environment,” the announcement reads. “The work says ‘Save the Frogs’ in English and ‘Salva las Ranas’ in Spanish, and the artist intentionally created this piece to promote wildlife conservation in her hometown of Petaluma.” 

The installations are the latest additions in the extensive catalog that the city of Davis maintains, and the Davis community is largely supportive of the latest installments to the collection. 

Rachel Hartsbough, the Arts and Culture Manager for the city of Davis, commented about how the public art collections positively contribute to the Davis community. She also shared how people should continue to support public art installations throughout the city.

“Public art in Davis, and any community, contributes to the quality of life for those who visit or call Davis home,” Hartsbough said. “We know from years of research that the presence of artwork can actually promote safety, improve mental health, increase economic activity, inspire tourists to visit, and so much more.”

Hartsbough shared how these displays will help benefit the community and expand where art is featured in Davis.

“We are excited to site these two new pieces of art because they will help us to provide access to artwork in more neighborhoods and locations and allow more of our community to benefit from the positive impacts,” Hartsbough continued. ”In this case, we are pleased to be able to showcase the work of two new artists to our collection, Ceric Wentworth and Mary Fuller McChesney. Each of their respective works brings a new aesthetic to our collection, and provides new examples of creative approaches to materials and artistic style and method.”

The Art In Public Places Collection was created by the city of Davis in 1973, with the objective being that the city would dedicate 1% of public funding that the city receives for capital improvement projects to make public purchases of art intended to increase the quality of life for the Davis community. 

“Artists selected through this program represent a diversity of style and media,” reads  the city website page for the Art In Public Places Collection. “Sculptures, murals, paintings, tile work, and functional pieces are located around the city to enhance the quality of life for all Davis residents and visitors.”

Questions, comments and suggestions can be directed to Rachel Hartsough at rhartsough@cityofdavis.org. The city of Davis recommends that members of the community take into consideration the necessary construction required for the installations and act with caution when around the construction areas. 


Written By: Anthony W. Zammikiel  — city@theaggie.org