Tag Archives: Chico State

MFA Photography Alum Finds Beauty in the Ordinary

A photo from “Out of the Ordinary,” a series that comments on the spaces people occupy.

When Adria Davis was in high school, her uncle, a professional sports photographer, took her on assignment to the Women’s World Cup in Los Angeles in 1999. It was that moment, photographing superstar strikers like Mia Hamm, she told herself, “this is what I want to do.”

Years later, she joined the three-year masters of fine art program with a focus in photography at CSU, Chico. Davis was grateful to be able to completely focus and develop her art for three years, an opportunity she knows she may never have again.

A studio selfie of Davis.
A studio selfie of Davis.

“It was the first time in my entire academic career that I truly felt challenged,” she said. “You make art and it forces you to really think about why you’re making it or what’s the concept that you’re working with. It really develops your ideas.”

Davis, who graduated in the spring and also has a BA in art from CSU, Chico, spent much of the three years in the program developing her culminating exhibition, “Out of the Ordinary.”

Davis’ series premiered at the University Art Gallery on March 23.

For her exhibit, Davis filled up her gas tank and drove all around Butte County to tell the stories of people’s homes and the spaces they occupy. Although no one appears in the series, the photographs are all about people and their personalities shown through their homes.


“My photographic practice is reminiscent of when I was a child, looking out the backseat window, while my parents discussed different stucco choices, paint colors and architectural styles of homes,” Davis wrote in her artist’s statement. “These photographs are direct responses to my environment. I am fascinated by the interplay of where public space meets private space. At that point, you begin to see how these places become portraits of the people who inhabit them.”

While Davis’ influences such as Walker Evans, Robert Adams and Henry Wessel are prevalent in “Out of the Ordinary,” she also found guidance in photography professor Tom Patton, who guided her throughout MFA program and culminating exhibition with critiques and honest questions.

“I appreciated his guidance because it distanced me from it being a personal experience,” she said. “Instead of it being an emotional experience of me presenting my personal work, he would help me develop the idea and really asked me ‘why are you doing this?'”

Every photo from “Out of the Ordinary” was taken in Butte County.

The guidance Patton gave her wasn’t just with her photography, he was instrumental in guiding Davis when she was  brought into the department to teach film and digital photography classes while she finished her degree, a unique opportunity for MFA students. While Davis loved teaching digital photography because of  the what-seems-endless options digital provides, Davis admires film photography because of its magic and history.

“It’s one thing to print off your piece from a printer but it’s so different when you’re in the darkroom and the very first time you print and see your image develop right in front of you is so amazing,” she said.

To view more of Davis’ photos, visit http://www.adriadavis.com/

‘Cat Tales: Valentine’s Day Edition!

By Jeff Barron, social media and photography intern

If you’re connected to Chico State on Facebook (and even if you’re not), there’s a good chance you’ve already seen our Valentine’s Day video. Viewed by more than 80,000 times in less than a week, the response has been incredible, and your feedback so positive. It shows how Wildcats embrace the idea that love can be shared by everyone, whether it’s romantic love, friendship, or simply a love for life.

In case you missed it:

Continue reading ‘Cat Tales: Valentine’s Day Edition!

A Day in the Life of a Wildcat

By Quinn Western, social media and photography intern

Here’s a glimpse into the day-to-day lives of three Chico State students. Sara McGuire is a junior communication studies major with a minor in nutrition and food sciences. Senior Ryan Clare is studying environmental science with a concentration in atmosphere and climate studies, and is a member of the award-winning speech and debate team. Emily Duran is a senior on the volleyball team who is studying journalism with a minor in Spanish.

Modeling the Mystery of the Earth’s Movements

By Kacey Gardner, Editorial Assistant

brownellUnderstanding the shape and behavior of our planet is an absolutely classic problem, says Kyle Rocha-Brownell, a double major in physics and computer science.

In fact, says senior Rocha-Brownell, “It’s one of the oldest scientific questions on record.”

Continue reading Modeling the Mystery of the Earth’s Movements

The WREC: No Experience Required

If you can play, you can play at The WREC! At 130,000 square feet, Chico State’s Wildcat Recreation Center has everything you need to get fit and have fun doing it, including a welcoming attitude. ALL students, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, orientation, language, size, or ability are encouraged to use and enjoy the facilities. Hear it from The WREC community themselves: we want you here!


By Quinn Western, social media and photography intern

Here’s a peek into my experience so far as an intern at The Sacramento Bee. I’ve been afforded countless opportunities to learn and have fun, from shadowing Pulitzer Prize winner Denny Walsh to playing on The Bee’s softball team, The Slugs. (Check out my slide in the video!)

I will return to Chico State in the fall as a senior journalism major.

Here are a few stories I’ve done so far:

17 and solo, she set out to hike the 2,650 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail

Here’s a column the executive editor, Joyce Terhaar, wrote about the future of journalism from the perspective of The Bee’s summer interns.

Title photo by Hector Amezcua
Chico State group photos by Andrew Seng

Sustainable Eats: A Recipe for Success

By Kacey Gardner, Editorial Assistant 

When student Grace Kerfoot became the AS Sustainability student dining coordinator last fall, she was immediately off and running on bringing more dining choices to Chico State.

Grace Kerfoot
Nutrition and food science major Grace Kerfoot, who serves as the AS Sustainability Dining Coordinator

A nutrition and food science major, Kerfoot was actively involved in events like Food Day and organizations like the national student group Real Food Challenge that celebrate and advocate for foods that are healthy, local, and green.

She had also already signed, along with many others, the “Real Food for CSUs” petition calling for the CSU system to set policy regarding sustainable food spending. But she knew that, in her new position, she could do more.

“Chico State is a small school with a unique food service operation and a drive for sustainability,” Kerfoot said. “This combination, linked with the fact that we live in California and are surrounded by some of the best produce year-round, is a recipe for success.”

Kerfoot forged ahead, tracking the success of current initiatives; promoting the local, organic, and fair-trade food products already being sold at campus convenience stores, cafes, and Sutter Dining; networking with sustainable vendors; and providing educational resources to the campus community on better food choices.

The myriad efforts by Kerfoot and AS Dining administrators throughout the past year resulted in a Best Practice Award in Sustainable Food Service this spring, around the same time the CSU Board of Trustees approved a long-awaited sustainable food policy that will govern the more than $100 million spent on food across the 23-campus system. Under the new policy, each campus will have until 2020 to ensure that at least 20 percent of all food spending goes to farms and food businesses that meet Real Food Challenge guidelines.

At Chico State, this will mean formally committing to the Real Food Challenge Commitment and figuring out exactly how far the University is from that 20 percent mark. AS Dining is already using the Real Food Calculator to track how much of its food is “real” and is well on its way toward the goal, said Eli Goodsell, who coordinates AS Sustainability efforts overall.

Elisabeth Quick and Kim Tracy assist Paula Woods and Charles Barnes (left to right) at the Organic Vegetable Project (OVP) weekly market, which includes squash, tomatoes, lettuce mix, and herbs, across from the library near the Student Services Center.
Elisabeth Quick and Kim Tracy assist Paula Woods and Charles Barnes at the Organic Vegetable Project (OVP) weekly market, which includes squash, tomatoes, lettuce mix, and herbs, across from the library near the Student Services Center.

“We’re not at 20 percent, but we are doing a good job,” he says. “Our administrators in AS Dining are extremely committed to this process. We would have gotten there anyway.”

Examples of AS Dining’s current offerings that meet the Real Food criteria include the Marketplace Café’s weekly Local Lunch; organic beverages such as GT Kombucha and Guayaki tea; local, fair trade coffee; and veggies from the Organic Vegetable Project.

“Food is one of the largest overarching sustainability themes because everybody uses it, every day,” Goodsell said. “Eating local, organic, fair trade food is always better for our bodies, but it’s also better from an environmental and economic perspective.”

Kerfoot added, “At Chico State, people are making goals and seeing them through. For a long time, food was not really on the radar with sustainability, and now it’s taking center stage.”