Creating Momentum

“Momentum,” an art exhibit in Davis, CA, tests what happens when art and science meet. Exploring how objects and people move, the project brings creativity to our relationship with bicycles.

Davis, California, famously known for its bike infrastructure, has recently been home to an inspiring project at the Davis Art Center. “Momentum: Art in Action/ Creativity in Motion,” tested what can happen when art and science meet. Launched on July 13, 2013, in the Tsao Gallery, “Momentum” explored how objects and people move, both physically and socially.   

The eclectically-filled walls of the Tsao Gallery created an interactive, bicycle concentrated wonderland. Rachel Hartsough, exhibit and program designer of “Momentum,” explained that the exhibit was a way of “subtly putting bicycles on the radar, by thinking of bikes as a new, fun, creative mode of transportation and as a vehicle to build community.” With mobiles, Rube Goldberg machines, and a kinetic playground, the Davis Art Center creates a complete hands-on experience for both children and adults. Over the two months that the exhibit is open, the space is evolving, visually documenting the user experience of the creative minds that visit.

A six minute bike ride from the exhibit, artist Danielle Fodor and Paint Bike Fun — a multi-city interactive public art project — partnered with the Davis Art Center Discovery Art Project to create the first mural in downtown Davis in more than 10 years. Combining over 200 ideas sent in by the Davis community through drawings, photos and comments, the Bike Fun Mural’s design aims to inspire others to ride their bikes. From July 20 to August 12 volunteers, ages 10 to adult, can be found painting the downtown wall which is appropriately found outside of Wheelworks, a local bike shop. Davisites will come together on August 17 to celebrate the mural’s completion. The three-hour, family-friendly street party will include live music, bicycle and helmet decorating, bike safety information, and a display of regional art bikes.

In creating this interactive, community, family oriented project, the Davis Art Center and Paint Bike Fun created a platform for young minds to get excited about riding bikes. In Paint Bike Fun’s philosophy they declare that they “know that kids are critical transportation decision makers and are too often left out of bike culture.” Through positive images of bicycles and people using them, the “images and emotions children associate with cars and bikes [will] later translate into teen and adult transportation choices.”

Hartsough has used this project to encourage her community to see bicycles as a creative, fun, and sustainable vehicle. “Riding my bike around town is a purely joyful time. Just by doing something creative to your bike you’re making people happy.”

For more information about Bike Fun Fest on August 17, a celebration of the completion of the mural visit:

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