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"Bellapede" Chosen as Name for Caterpillar Sculpture

"Bellapede" Chosen as Name for Caterpillar Sculpture

Children play on the caterpillar sculpture on the day of the unveiling (Oct. 30). Photo by Solomon Bassoff

Just over a month after its unveiling, Davis Central Park’s newest sculpture finally has a name.  The whimsical cement and steel Monarch butterfly caterpillar with big red lips and 7 pairs of shoes and socks will now be known as Bellapede.  The name was nominated by Marion Cantor Warner of Davis as part of a public naming contest organized by Central Park Gardens.

Warner was inspired by the caterpillar’s many shoes, and her name submission was an abbreviation of the French “belle à pied” or beauty on foot.  The name is also reminiscent of "centipede" or "millipede" and almost sounds as if it could be the scientific name of a new insect.  Warner’s prizes for winning the contest included a showy milkweed plant (the Monarch caterpillar’s favorite food), and two regional butterfly identification guides.

“I am so excited that the name I suggested was chosen,” Warner said.  “It just sounded right to me.  I am thrilled at the honor of naming this wonderful sculpture… I have already taken many photos of Bellapede and her wonderful shoes.”

The Central Park Gardens steering committee selected five caterpillar name finalists – Baroness Dana von Kicks, Bellapede, Mary Posa, Merry Poda, and Mona Pilla – from the 87 name entries submitted.  The artists who created the caterpillar, Solomon Bassoff and Domenica Mottarella of Faducci, made the final name selection, and an official name plaque will be installed soon.

Bassoff and Mottarella create their works by forming cement around a steel and wire armature. They permanently color the cement with natural mineral pigments, adding other materials that enhance the cement's strength and frost resistance. Many of their pieces also include glass mosaic.

The artists have several other pieces in public places, including a field of sunflowers in Hummingbird Park in Sacramento, a Komodo dragon created for Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, and a series of giant bugs and flowers for Turtle Bay Exploration Park in Redding.

Bellapede the Monarch caterpillar was unveiled on October 30th at Central Park Gardens’ 4th annual open house and plant sale.  The caterpillar is located at the north end of the gardens near 4th and B Streets in downtown Davis.  Funding for the sculpture was provided by the City of Davis municipal art fund.  Bellapede has been a big hit with park visitors of all ages and is sure to be a well-loved garden landmark for decades to come.

This site provided with the assistance of the Davis Community Network.