Alumni in the Arts: Passing Along a Native Tradition; Alum Working in City Arts Program

Granddaughter and grandfather share their Native American Craft at a recent craft fair at UC Davis
Jada McCovey, a third-year Native American studies and environmental studies student and her grandfather, George Blake, a UC Davis alum, share their craft. (Courtesy photo)

UC Davis Alum Jessica Wimbley appointed to the City of Sacramento Capital Region Creative Corps Program

Jessica Wimbley is an artist/curator whose work includes academic, museum, and public art collections in the California Public Digital Art Collection, Crocker Art Museum and Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She also was on staff at the UC Davis Manetti Shrem Museum of Art. She was recently appointed to the City of Sacramento Capital Region Creative Corps Program.

Jessica Wimbley, UC Davis grad and director of Manetti Shrem Museum Education
Jessica Wimbley, a UC Davis MFA graduate and former director of museum education for the Manetti Shrem Museum of Art in file photo. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

Learn more about the artists of the Capital Region Creative Corps Program.

Wimbley received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Painting from Rhode Island School of Design, a Master of Fine Arts degree in Visual Arts from the University of California, Davis, and her Master of Arts degree in Arts Management from Claremont Graduate University. Wimbley is currently a teaching artist in residence with Twin Rivers Unified School District in Sacramento.

Her work has been featured by the Sacramento Kings’ 2022 Juneteenth Celebration as well as being awarded the Artist of the Month by them in February 2022. Works from her Belle Jet and Cabinet Card series can be seen over the main entrance to the Golden 1 Center.

Visit her website at Jessica Wimbley - Sacramento Kings Artist of the Month

Jada McCovey — Learning Traditions Through Art

At the recent reopening of the UC Davis Gorman Museum of Native American Art, student Jada McCovey sat at a table in the redwoods next to the museum. On the table before her were finely carved bones and antlers with dark incised lines, all meticulously handcrafted by her grandfather, George Blake. 

When McCovey, a third-year Native American studies and environmental studies student, came to UC Davis, it felt like she was coming home. That’s largely because her grandfather earned his degree from UC Davis. McCovey is also a student of her grandfather, learning how to turn bones and antlers into art connected to her Hupa-Yurok heritage. 

Carvings by George Blake in museum display
Carvings by George Blake (Cal Poly Humboldt - Kellie Brown, collection of the artist)

UC Davis alum George Blake has taught her all she knows about turning bones and antlers into art tied into her Hupa-Yurok heritage.

Blake’s talent goes far beyond just teaching his granddaughter how to carve bones, but creating a multitude of other Native American art. Some other acclaimed items Blake has made include dugout redwood canoes, sinew backed bows, leatherwork and jewelry. In 1991, Blake was named a National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellow. Learn more on Blake at George Blake | National Endowment for the Arts.

Ever since transferring to UC Davis, McCovey and Blake have been closer than ever. This upcoming summer, McCovey hopes to spend her time in Hoopa with her grandfather and continue to bond over the preservation of their heritage.

Read the full story on the College of Letters and Science website: Student Following in Her Grandfather’s Artistic and Academic Footprints.

  • Jeffrey Day, College of Letters and Science



Media Resources

 Karen Nikos-Rose, UC Davis Arts Blog Editor, kmnikos@ucdavis

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