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Davis the Pro-Art City

Isabel Porter grew as an artist with the expanding art opportunities in Davis.

Submitted by:  Isabel Porter, 2/13/08
This entry relates to the past
Category(ies) of this entry:  Art
Neighborhoods:  Downtown, North Davis

In 1963, my husband and I with our three children moved to Davis from Los Angeles.

Becoming acquainted with the community, I introduced myself saying, “I’m an artist!” in answer to that rather pointed question, “What do you do?” asked in that tone which seemed to say, “Surely not just a homemaker.” Remember, only a few short years earlier, the 1950’s had expected no more of women than that they be good parents and mistresses of orderly households.  Then a new concept swept across America.  Women felt that to be a “significant individual” one must engage in some endeavor, preferable well paid, outside the home.  If one’s skills were not marketable, then one cultivated a talent for creating something; perhaps weaving, ceramics, quilt making, tie-dying, collage montages or papier-mâché configurations, thereby assuming the title, “Artist.”

I was confused.  I came from the part of West Los Angeles where individuals associated with the film industry lived; composers, writer, producers and those artists associated with film production.  I had established my credentials as a muralist, giving me claim to the title “Artist.”  In Davis, I found myself surrounded by a plethora of self-styled artists displaying a wide range of talent, from the dilettantes to the dedicated.

But Bravo for Davis!  The community soon recognized this varied surge of talent and provided venues for exhibition.  The Davis Art Center grew from a small cottage downtown to a beautiful new facility on F Street at Covell Boulevard.  And the Pence Gallery expanded apace, while an independent artists’ collective, The Artery, opened in downtown Davis.  An artist eager to exhibit simply had to await an opportune moment.

Mine came in 1992 with an offer to present a one-man show at the Davis Art Center.  With a decade of work on hand, I was able to present over seventy works of both large and small, all duly framed and catalogued.  The formalities of the entry procedures were formidable, but it was an exhilarating and rewarding experience.  Thank you, Davis, for that opportunity.

This site provided with the assistance of the Davis Community Network.