Image of the A Street Bridge mural in the UC Davis Arboretum.

Remembering the A Street Bridge Mural

Bridging Art and Science in the Arboretum

A Street Bridge Mural Photos

Image of student painting the original A Street Bridge mural in the UC Davis Arboretum.

See more photos of the mural, its creation and the students and community members involved.

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Under the A Street Bridge in the UC Davis Arboretum, there once was a mural that recorded the lifecycle of the beneficial insect, the lady beetle (aka ladybug). The work highlighted the interactions between people, insects, and plants. In addition to enlivening the tunnel, it served as an excellent educational tool for people to learn about insect and plant interactions.

In 2006, with funding from the Provost's office and in partnership with the UC Davis GATEways Project, students in Entomology 1 (Art, Science and the World of Insects) — taught by Professor Diane Ullman and Donna Billick, a local ceramic artist — designed the mural. Danielle Fodor, teaching assisting and local muralist, directed the mural studio, led the students in a consensus-based, participatory design process, and acted as lead artist throughout the painting. When developing the mural design, the student artists interviewed Arboretum staff, scientists, and visitors; observed the physical place; and, reviewed written research and longterm plans for the Arboretum. This information was then used to develop a series of drawings that culminated in the creation of a mural — one that was originally intended to last for one year. Luckily, our community enjoyed it for over 15!

The mural painting involved the initial 20 student artists and teaching staff, as well as some community volunteers. Local artist Mark Rivera also worked on some of the more complicated illustrations in the mural — notably, the "guide book" illustrations, on the far right side where the names of the student artists are listed.

Sadly, in the last couple of years, the campus has been hard hit by graffiti and this mural was no exception. The damage got to the point that it could not be removed without irreparably damaging the art so, the heart-wrenching decision was made to paint the mural over with the exception of  the "guide book," which will remain for now, in honor of its artist who recently passed away.

In the end, the A Street Bridge mural was a beautiful and unique piece of art that bridged the gap between art and science, showcasing the beauty and importance of insects and plants in the Arboretum. Even though the mural is no longer there, its legacy lives on, inspiring future generations of artists and scientists to work together and celebrate the beauty of nature.

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