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By Karen Nikos-Rose on November 27, 2017

Contributed by Wendy Weitzel

“Connecting the arts, fostering collaboration and building community.” That’s the goal of Arts Alliance Davis, a new one-stop shop for all things art-related in Davis.

The collaborative effort unites artists, civic and arts organizations, businesses, patrons, and other community arts allies. It just launched a website – – which offers a calendar, directory, resources and a chance to connect. Artists, performers and organizations are encouraged to submit listings.

Natalie Nelson, executive director of the Pence Gallery, and Rachel Hartsough, the city of Davis arts and culture manager, spearheaded the effort with many others in the arts community.

“It’s exciting to really see this come together,” Hartsough said. “We have an amazing wealth of cultural resources for a community of our size.”

Hartsough said the website is “a portal to see all of the many creative programs and artists we have in the Davis community. It’s linked to the Visit Yolo calendar, so organizations can cross-pollinate and support each other’s efforts. We hope that more artists want to submit their profiles and become part of the collective.”

Grant money from the California Arts Council and increased city funding for the arts is helping expand the scope, boost the outreach and cultivate Davis as an arts destination. The city’s 2017-18 budget, approved in June, includes more than $100,000 for new arts and culture funding. The money is designated to underwrite festivals and multi-day events, promote tourism, support emerging arts programs and organizations, subsidize performance venues, and more. The city has also allocated $50,000 in its budget toward its ongoing Community Arts Grant program — $20,000 more than last year.

The Arts Alliance will soon be set up to receive funding on its new website, with YoloArts as a fiscal sponsor, and hopes to begin to channel community and donor support to build its capacity.

The Arts Alliance Davis roster features a diverse and growing list of community members, including the Davis Phoenix Coalition, the city of Davis, Davis Downtown, Visit Yolo, and multiple creative programs in the UC Davis community. The more than 100 names contain gallery and business owners, city and university representatives, theater and dance companies, affiliates from business and tourism associations, working artists, musicians, performers and more.

The effort began in 2013, with the idea of forming a downtown cultural district. After a brief lag, it re-emerged in 2015, the year Hartsough was hired as the city’s arts and culture manager.

One of the first things she did was apply to the California Arts Council for grant funding. Awarded a competitive Creative California Communities planning grant, the city, in partnership with the Alliance, used the money conduct strategic program planning and provide seed money for a website.

About 40 people took part in two half-day strategic planning workshops in January and February. They created an inventory of “cultural assets” and community visions for the year 2027. Realizing steps toward the vision will promote the city’s arts, culture and history, build relationships, encourage economic development, civic engagement and foster a cohesive community.

The Alliance meets every other month. The next meeting will begin at 10 a.m. on Nov. 30 at the Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at UC Davis. To participate or add your name to the email list, email Rachel Hartsough at

Double Dose of Jazz on Nov. 30

Experience an afternoon and evening of jazz at UC Davis on Thursday Nov. 30 when the College of Letters and Science’s Department of Music’s jazz bands perform two concerts at the Ann E. Pitzer Center.

Beginning at 7 p.m., the evening program will feature smaller combos performing such classics as Sigmund Romberg’s “Softly as in a Morning Sunrise” and Richard Rodgers’ “My Favorite Things” as well as “New Afro Cuban” and “Do the Funky Shuffle” by Jacám Manricks, director of the Jazz Bands. The 20-member UC Davis Green Big Band will perform “Moten Swing” by Bennie Moten, arranged by Ernie Wilkins for Count Basie; “Sister Sadie” by Horace Silver, arranged by Michael Abene; “One Note Samba” by Antonio Carlos Jobim, arranged by Mike Tomaro; and “Movin Uptown” by Benny Carter.  

The free afternoon performance in the Shinkoskey Noon Concert series will showcase various combos performing “Come Sunday” by Duke Ellington, “You and the Night and the Music” by Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz, “Summertime” by George and Ira Gershwin, all arranged by Manricks, “Doozy” by Benny Carter, “Shofukan” by Snarky Puppy and three compositions by Manricks; “Jazz Hop,” “Shufflin” and “Bird, Bud and Duke.” More information at the arts web si

Coming up in December: Dance at Wright Hall

The fall quarter edition of Outside the Lines 1 will feature guest artist Rachel Berman, a former dancer of the Paul Taylor Dance Company, and the U.S. premiere of a work by Tara Brandel, artistic director of Ireland’s Croí Glan Integrated Dance Company.

Running Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 7 to 9 at 7 p.m. with a 2 p.m. matinee on Dec. 9, Outside the Lines 1 is presented by the College of Letters and Science’s Department of Theatre and Dance in Wright Hall’s Main Theatre. Tickets and further information.