Walk on the wild side at OMCA
BART Station:Lake Merritt (Oakland)
Walk Time:2 minutes
This summer, the Oakland Museum of California has two special exhibits for animal lovers: Learn more about the critters we love, or to see them from a completely different perspective.
Art Exhibit: Of Dogs and Other People by Roy De Forest
Pop by for colorful puppy paintings and amorphous dogs drawings until Aug. 20. Roy De Forest uses bright colors and lines to take you on a journey through his imagination where dogs, rabbits, horses, bulls, ducks and even some humans take center stage. De Forest's matte primary colors give the paintings a comic book familiarity with the exception of a shiny, copper blimp with gold undertones. Large canvases showcase a number of expressions from different hounds with tongues hanging about and custom built, and painted frames border his pieces with sculptures attached.
While seated inside the gallery, listen to various local interpretations of his art to diversify your perceptions. De Forest’s work could be described as a contrast between zooming in on a microscopic image of funky cell-like figures with colored dots and looking from a plane at a texture heavy landscape of winding rivers and rolling mountains. Some noteworthy pieces include “Black Dog” and “A Handbook for Spectators.” Wander about the exhibit and get a feel for De Forest’s style — then go to the hands-on area to take a stab at placing De Forest-inspired colored and shaped felt and create your own masterpiece.
Science Exhibit: Bees: Tiny Insect, Big Impact
The mainstream perception of bees — workers buzzing in hives while a queen populates more pollinators — is only one part of the story. This science exhibit is centered around expanding our understanding of the 1,600 bee species that live in California, some not even producing honey. It begins by putting into perspective the sizes and power of bees given their respective body proportions compared to humans, and the impact they have on the food we eat every day. A taxidermy viewing station allows us to get a closer look at different types of native bees and audio clips let us hear their complicated communications. From digger bees, to carpenter bees understand how critical a role they play pollinating flowers to produce one-third of every bite we take with the plant anatomy diagrams and hand-pollinating stations.
Stunning photos take us into the life cycle of solitary bees and interactively tests our knowledge. Do you think you can distinguish bees from bee look-alikes? There is even space to walk in the shoes of a beekeeper: turn the honey spinning machine and play dress up in a beekeeper’s suit. Apart from challenging everything we thought we knew about bees, this exhibit prepares us to take action in the movement to salvage threatened bee populations. Campaigns like The Great Sunflower Project and Zombee Watch are on computers at the end of the exhibit, ready for you to sign up and learn more. Enjoy this exhibit all summer through Oct. 22.