Picnic Day 2023 Arts Roundup: Fill Your Day with Arts, Music

Enjoy Hands-On Arts and Music Activities

Photo taken from inside Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, with horse sculpture in shadow, looking out to Picnic Day Activities
The Manetti Shrem Museum of Art this Picnic Day will have outside and inside activities for all: whether you want to make art or appreciate the art of others. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

Quick Summary

  • Between petting animals and getting a bite to eat, take in some art
  • Experience a footwear fantasy

Those attending the 2023 UC Davis Picnic Day festivities Saturday, April 15, will have no problem filling their day, especially if they choose to stick to an arts theme. Between stunning museum exhibits, concerts, and the ever-popular fashion show, visitors can get their arts fill.

Design Museum shoe exhibit is a footwear fantasy

124 Cruess Hall

Stop by the Design Museum to see their current exhibition, “From Concept to Creation: Inspired Shoe Design by Chris Francis,” which showcases the colorful and imaginative footwear created by this Los Angeles-based shoe designer. They are amazing to look at, but if you’ve been walking around to Picnic Day festivities, you’ll be glad they are on display rather than on your feet.

Enjoy the footwear fantasy as you explore the art, architecture and found objects that decorate these creations.

Exagerrated, high-heeled shoes in black and white
Brunel-28 motion shoe by Chris Francis is part of the Design Museum's shoe spectacular ongoing through spring. (Courtesy photo)

Co-curated by Professor Susan T. Avila and Cristina Gomez, graduate student in design, the installation spotlights creations by shoemaker and designer Francis. His narrative-based, unique hand-constructed shoes theatrically bridge contemporary art and wearable design.

The exhibition has been organized thematically and showcases his amazing craftsmanship and conceptual vision by juxtaposing the creative work with inspirational objects chosen by the curatorial team. The Walter Gropius Chairs and Walter Gropius’ Wearable Desk, in the Bauhaus to De Stijl section, features a blocky wooden sandal resembling a desk and a soft yellow heel with couch arms along the sides, replicating the office of Walter Gropius that can be seen in the accompanying reference photo.

In the Brutaliam and Punk section, shoes such as Gutter Punk and Hardcore in the 80s utilize wall fragments, found couch tweed, tar, and broom bristles to create frayed and studded heeled mid-calf boots.

And in Fantasy and Pop, heels such as California Landscape feature detailed architecture and trees along the base and heel of the shoes. There is also a coloring station where you can get a colora print of these shoe designs and see the work of others that have been pinned on the wall.

The Design Museum, part of the College of Letters and Science and free to the public, is in 124 Cruess Hall. The exhibition runs through April 23.

Multi-colored, high-heeled shoes
Multi-colored shoes will be featured in the Design Museum exhibit. (Courtesy photo)

Student-created fashion in ‘Intertwined’ runway show, plus lab-space exhibit

The UC Davis Fashion and Design Society (FADS) will present “Intertwined,” the 2023 Picnic Day Fashion Show Saturday, April 15. The event will spotlight fashion created and executed by Department of Design undergraduate students in the Signature Collections course. 

triptych of three photos of students exhibiting fashions at UC Davis fashion show
A montage of student-designed fashions as exhibited in the 2022 UC Davis Picnic Day runway show. This event is always sold out, so get tickets early. There will also be a free exhibit of the creations in addition to the runway show. See story below. (J.R. Martinez/UC Davis)

The event will be presented outdoors in the Cruess Hall Makerspace Courtyard at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. 

The popular event features 12 student-created collections that display a wide range of concepts from sustainability to minimalism merged into aesthetic qualities of each outfit.

“‘Intertwined’ will showcase highly creative collections with very playful pieces to outfits with a strong focus on sustainability and cultural diversity,” said Gozde Goncu Berk, associate professor and course instructor. 

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the UC Davis Ticket Office, located on the north side of Aggie Stadium, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, by phone (530) 752-2471 during the same hours or online here. Last year both shows sold out in advance. Visitors also have the option to stand during the shows for free.  

Cruess Hall lab space 

In conjunction with the runway show, there will be a one-day exhibition in the Cruess Hall Open Lab Space that shows the designers’ processes along with their other works, including textiles and wearable technology. The exhibition is open from noon to 4 p.m. and is free.

The Department of Design is housed in the College of Letters and Science at UC Davis, and is the only comprehensive design program within the University of California system.

Manetti Shrem Museum features games, sketching and exhibits

Saturday, April 15, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Old Davis Road

Include a stop at the Manetti Shrem Museum as part of your 109th Picnic Day adventures! Play games on the Events Plaza, make shimmering silver sketches, add to a large-scale reflective collage or cool off inside as you visit three current exhibitions inside: Mike Henderson: Before the Fire, 1965–1985; Loie Hollowell: Tick Tock Belly Clock; and Roy De Forest: Habitats for Travelers. 

Crowds enjoy Picnic Day 2022 at UC Davis Manetti Shrem Museum
2022 photo of Picnic Day in front of Manetti Shrem Museum of Art (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

Battle of the Bands returns with collection of university bands

Mrak Hall Lawn, 2 p.m. – 10 p.m.

The Picnic Day Battle of the Bands is back! A musical battle of epic proportions, come hear your favorite university bands rock out.  Guests will include the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band, Humboldt Marching Lumberjacks, University of San Francisco Marching Dons, Cal Poly Pomona Bronco Pep Band, UC San Diego Pep Band, and the UC Davis Marching Band.

Band members on percussion instruments performing to outdoor audience

'Sound + Humans = Magic,' and live performances throughout day

10 a.m. – 1 p.m., The Sound Lab – Art Annex, 221 Cushing Way, plus hands-on activity, free

Experience “Magic” created by students (“Humans”), and (“Sound”) produced using a variety of analog and electronic instruments. Students will perform live electronic music starting at 10 a.m., with the audience outside, on the (North) Mrak Hall lawn. Starting at 11 a.m., visitors are welcomed into the Sound Lab to get hands-on experience with some of their synthesizers and other sound-producing tools.

Music student performances celebrate music of the world

11 a.m. – noon, Music Courtyard, Ann E. Pitzer Center, free

** Please note this event takes place in the outdoor music courtyard between the Music Building and the Ann E. Pitzer Center. **

A few student groups, including the Bluegrass and Old Time String Band, Mariachi Ensemble, Afro-Cuban Ensemble, and Capoeira Ensemble, will perform, celebrating the many musics of the world!

More live performances throughout the day

There will be live musical performances at the Sciences Lab Building Patio, 11:45 a.m. – 4 p.m., World Stage (California Hall), 11:45 a.m. – 3:50 p.m., East Quad, 11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., Children’s Discovery Fair (Hoagland Lawn), noon – 2 p.m. These include R&B, Hip-hop, Jazz, and Indie bands, dance groups, regional music and dance, and A Cappella. Read the full list here.

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