California Agriculture Museum Art Installation Reception Sept. 11

Bud Gordon Art series The California Ag Museum welcomes California urban landscape artist and UC Davis alum , Bud Gordon, to their rotating art exhibit. Following the Friday beer and wine reception, the 12-painting series will hang on display until October 31, 2015

Woodland, Ca  September 1, 2015 — The California Agriculture Museum welcomed their latest painting series this week, California Today, by Bud Gordon, as part of their rotating art exhibit. The public is invited to an installation reception on Friday, September 11, from 5:30-7pm. The event is $10 and includes a complimentary glass of beer or wine.

The 12 painting series, ranging from 14 inches by 18 inches to 36 inches by 48 inches, takes visitors on a tour through California’s urban landscapes, merging with agriculture fields. Museum goers can enjoy the series through the end of October 2015, and a portion of the art sale proceeds will benefit the non-profit.

“Imagine touring some of California’s richest agricultural land by way of the Sacramento Corridor to San Jose by train,” explained Gordon, “The paintings are labeled so you understand your physical progression along the exhibit route.

As a Sacramento resident for decades, and University of Davis graduate, Gordon says the work documents his visual experience as a painter in California today. As a self-proclaimed “Urban Realist,” Gordon is interested in an attempt to reveal that which, in the middle of banal every day, remains extraordinary, rare, unique, and personal. Cal Ag Museum Artist Bud Gordon and wife

“When visiting the Bay Area, I will usually take the train,  it is such a pleasant way to travel because I am able to draw and photograph the urban landscape along the way,” he continued, “This current work, created in 2014, are the views I’ve seen between Sacramento and San Jose on the Capitol Corridor train.”

Gordon studied with renowned artists Wayne Thiebaud and Manuel Neri at the University of California Davis, and he refers to himself as an urban artist whose paintings explore how art can engage the viewer by documenting the environment, people, places and things.

When describing his art, Gordon says at distance his work looks realistic while close up it dissolves into abstraction. He explained that his love of the medium inspires him to work the surface and build in textures, and that by using sketching and photography to capture the essence of the terrain,  he can return to in the studio to transform those glimpses into complex landscapes brimming with surface tension.

“Bud’s art has been hung at the Shimo Center for the Arts in Sacramento, as well as, The Gold Leaf Gallery in Monterey; it is a pleasure to welcome his collection into the museum,” says Executive Director Lorili Ostman, “this rotating art exhibit continues to support our museum mission to educate and preserve the culture of agriculture in our community.”

For more information about the event, or to pre-purchase tickets, visit http://www.CaliforniaAgMuseum.org or call 530-666-9700. The California Agriculture Museum, formerly the Heidrick Ag History Center, is located at 1962 Hays Lane, Woodland, CA.

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We are officially the California Agriculture Museum!

2015 Museum Logo 6x6Woodland, CA– The Heidrick Ag History Center, has been rebranded as the California Agriculture Museum, in order to better reflect its broad cultural relevance. Giving substantial credit to its founder, Northern California farmer Fred C. Heidrick Sr., the non-profit museum is home to the nation’s most rare collection of California tractors and farm equipment.

The California Ag Museum is nestled in Yolo County which continues to be of the most agriculturally dominant counties in the state, producing nearly 35 percent of the world’s processing tomatoes.

This museum exhibits the evolution of California farming since the late 1800’s, with more than 100 tractors and another 100 pieces of agricultural artifacts on display.

“We have everything from giant steam driven tractors, to the belt driven and diesel burning metal wheel tractors,” Executive Director Ostman explained, “Following the end of the gold rush era, grain production exploded out here in the West, and pioneer farmers exemplified the true definition of innovation.”

Tractor technology is recognizably the most important aspect of modern farming in the United States; its transformation has enabled farmers to produce more effectively and efficiently to feed the ever growing population.

By the end of the 1800’s California became the leader in agriculture and mechanization;  it also lead the way in environmental standards. Paired with the diverse landscape, unique weather and healthy soil, it continues to be the ideal test area for tractor manufacturers.  If they can meet the criteria in California, most times they have exceeded demands in the rest of the nation and the rest of the world. Large equipment manufacturers have embraced ideas born on California’s farms, and put the ideas into mass production for worldwide specialized equipment.

Although Ostman explains that the Heidrick name is known as an agricultural giant among farming and ranching communities, the founding family and board of directors recognize that  it lacks distinction outside of those circles. How to maintain that local charm while inviting travelers to stop by to learn the California agriculture story has been a major topic of debate for several years.

The founder’s grandson, Rusty Luchessi, is very active in the museum’s affairs as board president, and expressed his support and enthusiasm for the rebranding efforts.

“By changing the name of the museum, we are hoping to emphasize that the collection is a celebration of California’s strong agricultural heritage,” he explained, “It encompasses the diversity of California farms and farming, and spotlights the ingenuity, camaraderie, and general ‘don’t tell me I can’t’ attitude of California farmers. This collection tells that story well.”

“With the rebranding, we can market to a wider demographic, people will have a better understanding of what they will find here,” Ostman added. “The Fred C. Heidrick collection is still the focal point of the museum, but we want our name to better explain what that is.”

“We hear our guests remark that they never imagined the museum was so visually and historically exciting,” she continued, “We have high hopes that that name change will strengthen the museum’s visibility as the landmark it is for California.”

The museum team has partnered with Ag in the Classroom, a federal agriculture educational program that fits in with California common core curriculum.

“We are in the middle of a farm-to-fork healthy eating revolution,” Ostman said, “What better way to teach children and neighbors about the meaning of whole foods than to give them an experience that rationalizes the culture of agriculture. To provide understanding of their roots, and why agriculture is a major player in California’s economic position.”

The museum may be named for California, however, they rely completely on funding from donations, visits and revenue from their onsite event center.

For the last 20 years, the Heidrick Ag History Museum and Event Center has been one of the areas premiere event venues, inviting clients to host their events in one of four unique rental spaces. The facility has been be rented for weddings, parties, large corporate events both ag related and not, and has been home to annual expositions, car shows and collector events.

As the California Ag Museum moves forward, the non-profit facility will continue to be available for rent to comfortably accommodate events, in their large banquet hall, unique agricultural equipment museum, beautifully manicured garden courtyard, and their newly unveiled 45,000 square foot grand exposition facility called the East Wing.

For a special treat, clients have the option of creating a grand entry for their dignitaries by parading them through an edifice adorn by treasures of California’s rich artifacts seated in a Model A, a 1920’s bus, or maybe even a 1925 fire engine.

These venues are available for gatherings small to large — trade shows, large-scale conferences, personal special events, and more — with customizable accommodations to make every booking completely unique.

For more information about the museum, please visit www.CaliforniaAgMuseum.org

The ag museum gets artsy

tractor sculpture 2015Although tractors may not traditionally bring artistic visions to mind, the Heidrick Ag History Center appreciates art as much as the next collector. In the coming year the museum will add several art additions, including the installation of a captivating metal tractor sculpture outside, as well as, a proposed rotating art gallery exhibit inspired by agriculture called “Art Alley”.

In order to complete this vision, the museum is seeking donation of a non-functioning, early twentieth century tractor.

“We saw a tractor sculpture that we really like; after some brainstorming we have been working with city officials to create a local landmark ,” Executive Director Lorili Ostman said, “It is about 20-feet tall, and it will have a total of three tractors on it.”

Ostman explained that the museum has two of the three pieces needed to complete the sculpture , a Caterpillar 22 and a Cletrac, but needs one more larger piece for the top.

NEEDED tractor NEEDED Tractor

The museum is looking for pieces such as these to showcase as part of the sculpture. They do not need to be in working condition. Please contact 530-666-9700 if you are interested in making a donation!

“The two tractors we have will appear to climb the pillars of a metal a-frame pillar, and our hope is that someone will have something just a little bigger that represents another transition of early tractors,” she continued, “We only need a tractor skeleton, no engine of working parts.”

Anyone interested in proposing a piece for the sculpture can email a photo and information to development@aghistory.org, or call 530-666-9700.

Although the museum will release more details regarding “Art Alley” in the coming months, the curatorial team is busy working to designate a portion of the museum to agriculture inspired art with rotating art exhibitions, featuring paintings, photography, and sculpture by local and regional artists. Look for the Heidrick Ag History Center to be fundraising for the exhibit at First Friday Art Walks at the Barth building at 423 First Street in downtown Woodland.

A Tractor Experiment

Caterpillar Model Expo 20; Caterpillar Tractor Co., 1927; 7000lbs. Heidrick Ag History Center.

The Caterpillar Twenty tractor has the distinction of being the first tractor designed by the Caterpillar Tractor Co.  It is easily recognizable as an early Caterpillar because of its grey color. (Many people today associate Caterpillars with their yellow color, but in the first few years after the 1925 merger between the C.L. Best Tractor Co. and the Holt Manufacturing Company, Caterpillar tractors were actually grey.  In 1932, the company offered either grey or yellow, but in December of 1932 the Best company decided they would only produce tractors in the standard yellow color. This little tractor might not be yellow, but it does hold an important place in Caterpillar history as a machine that combined the expertise of both Best and Holt.

Caterpillar Twenty Tractor Manual, Capterpillar Tractor Co., San Leandro, CA: 1927. Heidrick Ag History Center Archives.

Design on the new Caterpillar Twenty began in 1926.  The design was supposed to introduce a smaller, more affordable tractor, and was meant to replace the “2 Ton Caterpillar” previously produced by Holt.  Advertisements about the Caterpillar Twenty lauded the tractor as being “new in size, new in rating, new in price, [and] new in that it embodies the latest accumulation of the many years of “Caterpillar” experience.”  But how did Caterpillar use the accumulated knowledge of both the Best Tractor Co. and the Holt Manufacturing Company to create such a “new” tractor?

By letting a teenager try to run it into the ground, of course.  In 1927, two experimental Caterpillar Twenty tractors were produced with the sole purpose of testing them for flaws. One of these experimental Twenty tractors was given to Caterpillar Chairman C.L. Best’s teenage son, Dan. Fifteen year old Dan was told to drive the tractor anywhere and everywhere on the grounds of Caterpillar’s San Leandro factory.  After stressing the machine as best he could, Dan reported back the faults that he noticed.  Production on the Caterpillar 20 began in 1927, and was successfully produced until 1933.

Caterpillar Model Expo 20: Caterpillar Tractor Co., 1927, 7000 lbs. Heidrick Ag History Center.

Although the Model Twenty had flaws and was not ready for production, the experimental tractor was used for a few years at C.L. Best’s Diamond B ranch in Livingston, California. The tractor was later saved from the scrap piles and given to C.L.’s grandson, Dan Best II, to be used on his Woodland farm.  After being parked on the Woodland farm for some time, the one-of-a-kind Caterpillar Model Twenty found its home at the Heidrick Ag History Center.

Read more about the Bests and the formation of the Caterpillar Tractor Co. in Ed and Sue Claessen’s new book, Making Tracks: C.L. Best and the Caterpillar Tractor Co.  Both authors will be at the Heidrick Ag History Center on Friday, September 23 for a book signing; RSVP to the event by emailing aghistory@aghistory.org or by calling Rocio at 530 666 9700.