Pence Gallery: Garden Tour showcases beautiful outdoor spaces

Warren Roberts' and Rich Naval’s garden is one of six lovely gardens on the Pence Gallery's tour this year.
Warren Roberts’ and Rich Naval’s garden is one of six lovely gardens on the Pence Gallery’s tour this year.

By Natalie Nelson

The Pence Garden Tour is just around the corner, from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, May 4. Join us for a lovely day of strolling through the expansive gardens of North Davis.

This year, six gardens will delight participants, a smaller tour than previous years due to the large size of the selected properties. Several are off County Road 29, while one is just east of the Yolo County Airport.

Warren Roberts’ and Rich Naval’s garden (shown above) is one of six lovely gardens on the Pence Gallery’s tour this year. The garden site, with its rural feel and garden rooms designed for easy entertaining year-round, is a big draw for many who know Warren from his many years as superintendent of the UC Davis Arboretum. An orchard, shade garden, fire pit area and many other features await garden lovers.

Council-Debate-3The tour is always a fun place to learn more about plants as well, with Master Gardeners on site to answer questions. During the event, join local artists Pete Scully, Rebecca Ryland, Debbie Gualco, Ari Targownik, Lauren Brandy and LaVille Logan as they create colorful paintings of the selected gardens onsite, or chat with weaver Natalie Mackenzie.

Debbie Gualco, shown here in 2011 at the Pence Gallery’s Garden Tour, will be painting again during the tour this Sunday.

Also for those of you who can’t resist the homemade cookies and lemonade, visit our host garden, 24958 County Road 101A, to browse the silent auction offerings. Not to be missed are the many restaurant certificates, handmade gift items and services donated by our generous local businesses.

Tour tickets are $20 for Pence members and $25 for nonmembers ($28 day of event) and will be sold through the Pence, 212 D St.; Redwood Barn Nursery, 1607 Fifth St.; and Newsbeat, 514 Third St. Tickets are also available online at On the day of Garden Tour, tickets will be sold only at the Pence Gallery from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and at the host garden.

The Garden Tour is the Pence’s spring fundraiser, organized by the tour committee annually to support the gallery’s education and exhibit programs. Last year, we served more than 17,000 visitors in the galleries, and offered them free admission, and 1,000 school children through our education programs.


One thing I always love about working with the master of fine arts students from UC Davis is their willingness to test the limits of what and where they show their work. Their exhibit, titled “Dumpstir Dive,” opens with a reception on Friday, May 9, from 6 to 9 p.m. Each first-year graduate student has chosen one work to represent their current focus, and so there will be a variety of paintings, drawings, photographs and a few installation pieces.

Council-Debate-3 One part about working with emerging artists is that they are always pushing themselves: This year is no different. Nuno Correia shows his large-scale metal sculpture outside in our courtyard, inviting the public to walk around his piece unencumbered by gallery walls. James Angello combines drawing directly on the gallery walls, with disparate found elements to create sculptures that just barely stand, before their potential collapse.

In his work, Wesley Miller creates colliding spaces that accommodate reinterpretations of personal memories, our collective consciousness, with hints of magical realism. Jonathan Sprague’s photographic work explores the bond between man and nature, abandonment and growth — stressing the human impact on transforming landscapes. Matt Debbault’s painting of a cockfight compresses space into an action of frenetic human activity.

Lauren Rayburn is a figurative painter who uses quick strokes to paint “snapshots” of the human figure, albeit at an intimate scale. She’s got a great sense of color and her figures seem alive with energy. Matt Gilbert combines technologies into evocative organic systems, creating amazing streamlined machines that spurt out liquid or move in ways that are creature-like.

In other words, this show has way-cool stuff, and is on display through June 4.

— Natalie Nelson is executive director and curator of the Pence Gallery; her column is published monthly.

About The Author

Matt Williams has been a resident of Davis/El Macero since 1998. Matt is a past member of the City's Utilities Commission, as well as a former Chair of the Finance and Budget Commission (FBC), former member of the Downtown Plan Advisory Committee (DPAC), former member of the Broadband Advisory Task Force (BATF), as well as Treasurer of Davis Community Network (DCN). He is a past Treasurer of the Senior Citizens of Davis, and past member of the Finance Committee of the Davis Art Center, the Editorial Board of the Davis Vanguard, Yolo County's South Davis General Plan Citizens Advisory Committee, the Davis School District's 7-11 Committee for Nugget Fields, the Yolo County Health Council and the City of Davis Water Advisory Committee and Natural Resources Commission. His undergraduate degree is from Cornell University and his MBA is from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He spent over 30 years planning, developing, delivering and leading bottom-line focused strategies in the management of healthcare practice, healthcare finance, and healthcare technology, as well municipal finance.

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