Adjacent to the Manetti Shrem Art Museum on the UC Davis campus you will find the Margrit Mondavi Art Garden. A lovely tribute to a main donor to UC Davis, Margrit Mondavi on her 90th birthday in 2015,. A painter herself, Mondavi’s subjects were flowers. Atlas Lab, who landscaped the garden in 100 days, took inspiration from Mondavi’s paintings and planted an array of diverse and colorful flower beds. Curvy small walls with curved benches invite the visitors to sit, to contemplate, or start to sketch.
The sculptures you will encounter at Margrit Mondavi’s Art Garden are William Tucker’s Leda (1989-90), bronze, John Connell’s Earth-Touching Buddha (2002), bronze, Dan Snyder’s The Restoration of Hope II (1983), ceramic with cement, and Andrew Rogers’ I am (2016). Above all, this is a flower garden that even has a rose cultivar named after the gardens namesake “Margrit Mondavi”.
I found this an unexpected but joyful place worth discovering. Best said by Margrit Mondavi herself in the UC Davis Magazine in 2014, “There is so much beauty in the world, if we look for it.”
I was expecting a lot of beach images and was pleasantly surprised at the broad palette of summer. I will have the water by Michael Granger won us over – a depiction of colorful drinks in a refrigerator.
My son found the multimedia installation Into Being – The River by Diana Hobson and Susan Alexjander quite relaxing. At the time of our visit, we were the sole visitors and could enjoy the relaxing telegenic water images without any distractions.
The third current exhibit is by Richard Gayton: Strangers on the train, a watercolor study of BART riders on his daily commute. Gayton is an excellent observer of moods and this is reflected in his drawings of BART riders.
Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art is a great day trip. Visitor parking can be found adjacent to the museum and admission is free, donations are accepted. I also recommend the little sculpture garden in the museum’s courtyard, a relaxing place.