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Posts Tagged: Diane Ullman

Time for Celebration and Nostalgia

Donna Billick with a bouquet of flowers from UC Davis Arboretum director Kathleen Socolofsky. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
It was a time for celebration and a time for nostalgia.

The UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, an innovative program that fuses art with science--and science with art--took shape 17 years ago, co-founded and co-directed by entomologist/artist  Diane Ullman and self-described "rock artist" Donna Billick.

Together Ulllman, professor of entomology, and Billick, trained as a scientist (genetics), formed a tight-knit talented team that taught Entomology 01 students about art and science. For nearly two decades, the duo taught students about such scientific subjects  as honey bees, bumble bees and dragonflies, and then inspired them to create mosaic ceramics, paintings and other art work.

“Participants see and feel art and science, hold it in their hands, hearts and memories—in ceramics, painting, photographs, music, and textiles,” Ullman said.

Today the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program includes science faculty, design faculty, museum educators, professional artists and UC Davis students.

Tonight (Friday, June 6) marked the end of an era. At the celebration in Third Space, Davis, a crowd came to admire the work of the spring-quarter ENT 01 students and praise the accomplishments of Billick, who is retiring from the university at the end of June. Barring a financial miracle or a grant to save the program, the spring quarter marked Billick's last as an ENT 01 teacher.

Of their 17 years together, Ullman quipped: “Some marriages don't last that long.”

Billick praised the students' work and "their ability to connect the head through the heart through their hands. We created together and we communicated together… the students rocked this venture.”

The result: an internationally recognized program that continues to draw oohs and aahs, as well as and overseas invitations to speak. Much of the art is displayed throughout the campus, including the UC Davis Arboretum and the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre bee friendly garden on Bee Biology Road, west of the central campus.

Diane Ullman, co-founder and co-director of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
UC Davis Arboretum Director and Assistant Vice Chancellor Kathleen Socolofsky, applauded the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program's huge legacy of art in the Arboretum that attracts scores of visitors and will be treasured for generations. One piece, Nature's Gallery, showing the interaction of plants and insects, was displayed in the U.S. Botanical Garden, Washington D.C., and is now permanently at home in the Arboretum's Storer Garden.

As for Billick, she toyed with a scientific career before opting for a career that fuses art with science. She received her bachelor of science degree in genetics in 1973 and her master's degree in fine arts in 1977, studying art with such masters as Bob Arneson, Roy De Forest, Wayne Thiebaud and Manuel Neri. 

Billick maintains a compound in Baja, where she teaches three workshops a year called "Heaven on Earth." 

For outstanding teaching, Diane Ullman was recently selected the recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Award in Teaching from the Pacific Branch, Entomological Society of America. She is now one of six candidates for the ESA Distinguished Teaching Award. ESA will select the recipient from one of six branches—Pacific, Eastern, North Central, Southeastern, Southwestern and International—and present the award at its Nov. 16-19 meeting in Portland, Ore.

Billick said she is grateful for the UC Davis experiences and the endless opportunities. "I'm looking forward to the next phase (of my life as an artist)," she said. "Please don't think of me as leaving; I'm spreading out.”


""Rock artist" Donna Billick with Terry Nathan, UC Davis professor of atmospheric science. He teaches photography in the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

"Rock artist" Donna Billick with Terry Nathan, UC Davis professor of atmospheric science. He teaches photography in the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Entomology 01 student Justine Abbott, majoring in biological sciences, created this work on the Asian giant hornet, Vespa manderinia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Entomology 01 student Justine Abbott, majoring in biological sciences, created this work on the Asian giant hornet, Vespa manderinia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Entomology 01 student Justine Abbott, majoring in biological sciences, created this work on the Asian giant hornet, Vespa manderinia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Entomology 01 student Eric Smith, majoring in biochemistry, titled his work on the walnut husk fly,
Entomology 01 student Eric Smith, majoring in biochemistry, titled his work on the walnut husk fly, "Look Into My Eyes." (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Entomology 01 student Eric Smith, majoring in biochemistry, titled his work on the walnut husk fly, "Look Into My Eyes." (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Friday, June 6, 2014 at 10:08 PM

Fusing Art With Science

This is part of Nature's Gallery, fusing art with science. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program is incredible.

It's a program that, as the name indicates, fuses art and science. Science with art.

On that note, two noteworthy events sponsored by the program will take place next week. 

But first, what's the program all about? 

It's the brainchild of UC Davis entomologist/artist Diane Ullman and her close friend and colleague Donna Billick, a self-described "rock artist." Their visions and talents are absolutely amazing and have drawn national and international attention.

Ullman and Billick began teaching classes in the UC Davis Department of Entomology (now Entomology and Nematology) in the mid-1990s that led to the formation of the Art/Science Fusion Program. They founded the program and now serve as co-directors. Today it includes design faculty, science faculty, museum educators, professional artists and UC Davis students.

“Participants see and feel art and science, hold it in their hands, hearts and memories—in ceramics, painting, photographs, music, and textiles,” said Ullman, professor of entomology, former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, and former associate dean for Undergraduate Academic Programs, UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Basically, it's an innovative teaching program that "crosses college boundaries and uses experiental learning to enhance scientific literary for students from all disciplines." The program promotes environmental literacy with three undergraduate courses, a robust community outreach program, and sponsorship of the Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous (LASERs).

Entomologist-artist Diane Ullman, co-founder and co-director of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Now a noteworthy part: On Friday, June 6, the UC Davis Art Science Fusion Program will sponsor a public celebration of the art of Entomology 1 students (taught by Ullman and Billick) and the accomplishments of Billick. The theme:  “Seeing the Invisible: Art and Insects.” It will take place from 6 to 10 p.m. in the Third Space, 946 Olive Drive, Davis. 

One of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program's most visible and “wow!” projects is the 2,500 pound mosaic art, Nature's Gallery in the Storer Garden, UC Davis Arboretum. It showcases the interaction--and the beauty--of insects and plants. It was initially displayed at the U.S. Botanical Garden in Washington D.C. and at the California State Fair.

Another project that draws much attention and acclaim is the Ent 1 art in the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre bee garden on Bee Biology Road, west of the central campus.  

Billick created “Miss Bee Haven,” a six-foot-long honey bee sculpture that anchors the garden. "I like to play with words,” said Billick. She also created  the colorful Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility's mosaic ceramic sign that features DNA symbols and almond blossoms. A hole drilled in the sign is ready for a bee hive.

Also in Davis, Billick created the whimsical Dancing Pigs sculpture and the Cow Fountain, both  in the Marketplace Shopping Center on Russell Boulevard; the Mediation sculpture at Central Park Gardens; and the Frawns for Life near the West Area Pond.

Anna Davidson, moderator/organizer of LASER event. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Billick toyed with a scientific career before opting for a career that fuses art with science. She received her bachelor of science degree in genetics in 1973 and her master's degree in fine arts in 1977, studying art with such masters as Bob Arneson, Roy De Forest, Wayne Thiebaud and Manuel Neri.

Billick traces her interest in an art career to the mid-1970s when then Gov. Jerry Brown supported the arts and offered the necessary resources to encourage the growth of art. He reorganized the California Arts Council, boosting its funding by 1300 percent. 

She maintains a compound in Baja, where she teaches three workshops a year called "Heaven on Earth." She has won numerous awards for her work.

For outstanding teaching, Diane Ullman was recently selected the recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Award in Teaching from the Pacific Branch, Entomological Society of America. She is now one of six candidates for the ESA Distinguished Teaching Award. ESA will select the recipient from one of six branches—Pacific, Eastern, North Central, Southeastern, Southwestern and International—and present the award at its Nov. 16-19 meeting in Portland, Ore.

The other noteworthy event involving the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program occurs on Monday, June 2. It's the popular LASER-UC Davis event and will be held from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. in Room 3001 of the Plant and Environmental Sciences Building.  (LASER is an acronym for Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous.) One of the program's teachers, Anna Davidson, a Ph.D candidate in the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences, is coordinating and moderating the event. Come by at 6:30 for socializing and networking. The program starts at 7.

Davidson has gathered an exciting program of four speakers, with a discussion and more networking to follow from 9 to 9:30: 

 The  schedule:

  • Gene Felice, graduate student, at the University of California Santa Cruz, will speak on "Justice in a More Human World" from 7 to 7:25. 
  • Michael Neff, associate professor in Computer Science and Cinema and Technocultural Studies at UC Davis, will speak on "The Gap Between Computational and Artistic Models of Movement"
  • Danielle Svehla Christianson of the Berkeley Center for New Media, will discuss "The Gap Between: Computational and Artistic Models of Movement, “A Digital Forest: 01100110 01101111 01110010 01100101 01110011 01110100” from 8:10 to 8:35 p.m.
  • Joe Dumit, director of Science and Technology Studies and professor of anthropology at UC Davis, will speak on "Haptic Creativity: Seeing, Scaling and Storymaking with the KeckCAVES" from 8:35 to 9 p.m.
Read more about the four speakers on the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology website.
 

UC Davis Art/Science Fusion co-founder and co-director Donna Billick with her mosaic ceramic sculpture, Miss Bee Haven, in the half-acre Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
UC Davis Art/Science Fusion co-founder and co-director Donna Billick with her mosaic ceramic sculpture, Miss Bee Haven, in the half-acre Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

UC Davis Art/Science Fusion co-founder and co-director Donna Billick with her mosaic ceramic sculpture, Miss Bee Haven, in the half-acre Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey

Self-described rock artist Donna Billick addresses the crowd at the opening of Nature's Gallery, UC Davis Arboretum. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Self-described rock artist Donna Billick addresses the crowd at the opening of Nature's Gallery, UC Davis Arboretum. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Self-described rock artist Donna Billick addresses the crowd at the opening of Nature's Gallery, UC Davis Arboretum. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Friday, May 30, 2014 at 5:53 PM

'Life in the Hive': Bee-utiful Art

Installing the panels. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
It’s all about the bees, the garden and the art.

The UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program is installing mosaic ceramic panels on cement planters at the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre bee friendly garden on Bee Biology Road, west of the UC Davis central campus.

Diane Ullman and Donna Billick, co-founders and co-directors of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program and their associate, professional mosaic ceramic artist Mark Rivera of Davis, began installing the work, titled “Life in the Hive,” on Thursday, May 30. 

The newest addition joins two other mosaic ceramic-paneled plants. One showcases honey bees and bee friendly gardening, and the other focuses on plants and alternative pollinators, such as butterflies, bumble bees, carpenter bees, blue orchard bees, and metallic green sweat bees.

Students in the Entomology 1 class, taught by Diane Ullman, associate dean in the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and professor of entomology, and self-described “rock artist” Donna Billick, created the panels on all three of the once-barren cement planters.

The latest addition, “Life in the Hive,” is the work of the spring-quarter Entomology 1 class. The students will gather in the haven on Saturday, June 1, to complete the installation. They will then discuss their work at a special event from 6 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, June 4 in the haven.

“Life in the Hive,” lettered with “Honey Bee Haven” and “Häagen Dazs,”  depicts the life cycle of the worker bee, queen bee, and drone. It also features a waggle dance, the queen bee and her retinue, and a newly emerged queen bee stinging and killing a competing queen ready to emerge from a cell. The art also depicts nurse bees, undertakers and foragers.

Another panel shows a “before” and “after” person: "before" when he was deathly frightened of bees, and "after," when he developed an appreciation for them. 

The UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, launched in 1997, helps students reach across disciplines to learn science through art, and art through science, Ullman said. Each course focuses on key areas of biology, physics or environmental science and expressive art media, including ceramics, graphics, textiles, photography, poetry and music.

The haven is a year-around food source for bees and other pollinators and is designed to (1) raise public awareness about the plight of bees, and (2) to show visitors what they can plant in their own gardens. Part of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, it is located just a few yards from the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility.

The garden is open to the public from dawn to dusk for self-guided tours. For guided tours (nominal fee involved), the contact person is Christine Casey at cacasey@ucdavis.edu.

Multiple hands at work on the mosaic ceramic panels. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Multiple hands at work on the mosaic ceramic panels. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Multiple hands at work on the mosaic ceramic panels. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Self-described
Self-described "rock artist" Donna Billick. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Self-described "rock artist" Donna Billick. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Artists Diane Ullman and Mark Rivera. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Artists Diane Ullman and Mark Rivera. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Artists Diane Ullman and Mark Rivera. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

This art depicts
This art depicts "before" and "after": "before" when the man was deathly afraid of bees, and "after," when he developed admiration. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

This art depicts "before" and "after": "before" when the man was deathly afraid of bees, and "after," when he developed admiration. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The life cycle of the honey bee. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The life cycle of the honey bee. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The life cycle of the honey bee. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Artists Donna Billick, Diane Ullman and Mark Rivera. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Artists Donna Billick, Diane Ullman and Mark Rivera. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Artists Donna Billick, Diane Ullman and Mark Rivera. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Thursday, May 30, 2013 at 8:56 PM

Diane Ullman: Entomologist, Artist, Administrator

That should be easy to do. There's so much to say.

One hour.

Entomologist/artist Diane Ullman,  associate dean for undergraduate academic programs in the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and professor of entomology, will be interviewed for an hour-long program on the Insect News Network, a Davis-based radio station, on Wednesday, March 20. 

Emmett Brady, founder of the Insect News Network, KDRT 95.7 FM, and host of the “Wednesday Science Doubleplay,” said he will dedicate the entire hour from 5 to 6 p.m. to discussing Ullman’s unique and inspiring career.

"We will explore Ullman’s innovation in academics and education: from her pioneering efforts in the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program to her specialty: thrips."

The Art/Science Fusion Program, founded and directed by Ullman and her colleague, self-described "rock artist" Donna Billick, connects art to science, and science to art.

Brady also will examine the emergence of cultural entomology as a key discipline of the 21st Century and “how careers in science are being re-defined as scientific technology continues to res-shape the modern world.”

For the first hour (4 to 5 p.m.) of the “Wednesday Science Doubleplay” show, Brady will explore “the world of insects, beyond the creepy and the crawly to the fun, the fascinating, the profound and even the sublime.”

Just recently Ullman, along with a team of eight other investigators from six institutions,  received a five-year, $3.75 million grant from the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, United States Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture, to develop and implement a national scientific and educational network to limit thrips-caused crop losses.

Meanwhile, listen to Diane Ullman's Tedx seminar. And then tune in to Insect News Network to hear an amazing entomologist, artist and administrator.

Diane Ullman, entomologist, artist and administrator. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Diane Ullman, entomologist, artist and administrator. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Diane Ullman, entomologist, artist and administrator. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 9:20 PM

Attacking Thrips

Diane Ullman, principal investigator
Thrips, those tiny little critters about a millimeter long or less that wreak economic havoc to U.S. agricultural crops--not to mention crops worldwide--may have met their match.

They're under attack by entomologist Diane Ullman of UC Davis and her team of eight other investigators.

Ullman just received a five-year, $3.75 million grant from the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, United States Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture, to develop and implement a national scientific and educational network to limit thrips-caused crop losses.

Yes, you've seen thrips or the damage they've caused. Probably on your tomato or red pepper plants, for example. They pierce a wide variety of agricultural crops, ranging from tomatoes and grapes to strawberries and soybeans. They're direct pests. And they transmit plant viruses in the genus Tospovirus, such as Tomato spotted wilt virus. 

John Sherwood, co-principal investigator
“Our project will build expertise through education and create tools and strategies that complement existing methods to limit crop losses due to thrips-transmitted tospoviruses,” said Ullman, associate dean for undergraduate academic programs for the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and professor of entomology and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology.

She's been researching thrips and tospoviruses since 1987.

Ullman and co-principal investigator John Sherwood, head of the Department of Plant Pathology at the University of Georgia, Athens, Ga., will alternate years as program directors. Sherwood, a past president of the American Phytopathological Society (APS), is a former program leader of the Plant Biosecurity Program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Services (CSREES) and the USDA program leader for the joint Microbial Observatories Program with the National Science Foundation.

Read more about the grant on the UC Davis Department of Entomology website and who's involved.

This is massive nationwide effort against pests that cause billions of dollars in damage to U.S. agricultural crops. Let the grant begin!

Western flower thrips. (Photo by Jack Kelly Clark, courtesy of entomologist Diane Ullman)
Western flower thrips. (Photo by Jack Kelly Clark, courtesy of entomologist Diane Ullman)

Western flower thrips. (Photo by Jack Kelly Clark, courtesy of entomologist Diane Ullman)

Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 10:10 PM

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