Park Profiles: Meet Ashanti Davis!

Kristen MihalkoBalboa Park Cultural Partnership, One Park - One Team, Park Profiles

Ashanti is the Exhibits Project Supervisor with the Fleet Science Center. She has played an integral role in bringing some of the most stunning exhibits to the Fleet, proving that science is an art in itself. As she and her team unveil Game Masters: The Exhibition, Ashanti talks to us about what we can expect from this gamer’s dream exhibit.

1.How did you first get involved with the Fleet Science Center?
About three years ago, I decided I wanted to get back into working with an organization where I could work with my hands and inspire creativity. My friend shared the part-time Tinkering Studio Coordinator position with me and I knew it was the perfect job! Three years later, I’m now the Exhibits Project Supervisor for the Fleet Science Center.

2. What has surprised you most about working at the Fleet?
Definitely the adventurous exhibits! The first exhibit I encountered when I arrived was Illusion, which featured works of art that explored ideas of perception and reality. The exhibit came from Science Gallery in Dublin, Ireland, and since then we have continued to bring engaging exhibits from around the world. It’s a lot of work putting together these exhibits, but it’s exciting to combine both of my passions (art and science) and highlight their connections.

3. What has been your most rewarding experience when putting together new exhibits?
Meeting teams that are sent with the traveling exhibits to help put it together. I have a chance to get to know and bond with people who share similar interests and passions for exhibits from all over the world. For example, I have become very good friends with the exhibits team from Game Masters, who traveled all the way from the Australian Center for the Moving Image in Melbourne, Australia.

4. Speaking of new exhibits, Game Masters: The Exhibition officially opened on July 1st! What was it like bringing this exhibit to life?
In one word: Intense! At around 3 weeks, this exhibit was the longest install that I have ever been a part of to date. There are tons of moving parts and details to this exhibition. Some of the games are vintage pieces that have to be handled with a lot of care. There is even artwork, some original, some recreations, that required condition reporting and art handling. I loved playing many of these games as a kid and bringing it to life has been very fun and rewarding as well.

5. What can guests expect from this new exhibit?
The best part is obviously the video games; but also the art behind creating these games is fascinating. There were 30 designers involved with designing the exhibit. Most guests don’t know but video game creation incorporates so many forms of art such as design and sculpture. It’s not just the process of creating a game, it includes the process of art, science, creativity, collaboration, and innovation and this exhibit brings it to life.

6. What do you like to do outside of working on exhibits?
As I mentioned I love art, so one of my favorite things to do is to go to art exhibitions. I take the train up to Los Angeles and like to check out the art exhibitions at the different museums there. I also love to bake and cook, and have recently been really into baking bread.

7. Favorite book, TV show, movie, or song?
My favorite book is The Mummy by Anne Rice, my favorite Television show is the X-Files, my favorite film is Fantasia (the original one, not Fantasia 2000!) and my favorite song is Take 5 by Dave Brubeck!

8. If given a change, what job would you like to have for the day?
I would love to be an astronaut, specifically a Mars mission astronaut and experience the moment of landing on Mars – just for one day though!

9. What is your favorite spot in Balboa Park?
All of Balboa Park is my favorite spot. I can’t pick just one because I have always wanted to work in a museum in the Park, so I love the Park and museums here as a whole!