Arts Division Newsletter

Jonas Rivera, Krissy Cababa, Celine Parreñas Shimizu during 80 YEARS LATER Q&A at Pixar Animations Studios

Message from the Dean of Arts

Celine Parreñas Shimizu, M.F.A., Ph.D.

Distinguished Professor of Film and Digital Media

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December 2, 2022

Dear Arts Community,

As fall quarter ends and winter break approaches, it's important to acknowledge our concerns, including the UAW strike taking place throughout all of the ten UC campuses. As talks continue between the union and the university, I sincerely hope for a resolution that is fair and equitable.

I thank all of you who so generously participated in Giving Day this year, helping us to raise an amazing $108,000, which is more than 50% over last year. These funds directly assist our students in a variety of ways from funding socially impactful research to internship scholarships that support students’ living expenses as they seize opportunities, and professional programs that provide students with valuable career advising and networking.

There are still opportunities to give if you’d like to support these efforts before the end of year.

There is both joy and pain even in this brightly lit season upon us. I wish for the needed power of the arts to help us transform the world—a goal we hold dear in the Arts at UCSC. May the work of our community we celebrate in these news inspire you.

Best wishes and be well, beloved community,

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email me:

Photo: Carolyn Lagattuta

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People in the Arts

Featured Undergraduate Student

Louisa Balderas


Louisa Balderas’s work was recently featured in her exhibition at Eduardo Carrillo Senior Gallery, entitled Unapologetically, Me, as part of the Art Department’s Senior Show. She is an artist and an activist, an artivist, from Los Angeles. Her pursuit of art, economics, and sustainable studies is inspired by her family’s strive to achieve the American dream.

Read More

Featured Graduate Student

Yasmine Benabdallah

Film & Digital Media

2nd year Ph.D. student

Benabdallah’s film, How to Reverse a Spell, the Promise of an Archive won the award for Best Experimental Short Film at Sharjah Film Platform, the Sharjah Art Foundation's film festival. The film is a speculative triptych traversing the disappearance of the Moroccan public archives, the colonial displacement of videos, and finally, a prayer for an apocalyptic solar flare that can return things to how they never were.

Read More

Featured Faculty

Kyle Parry

Associate Professor

History of Art & Visual Culture

Kyle Parry’s first book, A Theory of Assembly: From Museums to Memes, will be published in January 2023. A Theory of Assembly argues that one of the most powerful and pervasive cultural forms in the digital era is assembly. Whether as subtle photographic sequences, satirical Venn diagrams, or networked archives, projects based in assembly do not so much narrate or represent the world as rearrange it, and as the world becomes ever hotter, more connected, and more algorithmic, the need to map—and remake—assembly’s powers and perils becomes all the more pressing.

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Featured Staff

Alice Szeto Gallup

Director of Academic Planning and Resources

Arts Division

The child of parents that immigrated from Hong Kong, Alice Szeto Gallup said figuring out her career path has come with unique challenges. The new Arts Director of Academic Planning and Resources had to learn to create her career path without a blueprint or a built-in network of support.

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Featured Alumna

Gillian Welch

Art, 1990

As an undergraduate at UC Santa Cruz, Gillian Welch’s senior work was in photography. Born in Manhattan, Welch grew up in West L.A. where her parents wrote for the television comedy series The Carol Burnett Show. After graduating from UC Santa Cruz, she met her musical partner David Rawlings while both were students at the Berklee School of Music, and they soon began performing as a duo. The surprise success of the O Brother, Where Art Thou film soundtrack—and the release of her remarkable third album Time (The Revelator) in 2001—put Welch firmly in the spotlight of the traditional American folk-roots revival movement.

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Arts in the News

Dean Celine Parreñas Shimizu Featured on KPFA’s APEX Express

On November 3, 2022, KPFA’s APEX Express host Miko Lee spoke with professors Dr. Celine Parreñas Shimizu and Dr. Robyn Magalit Rodriguez about their approach to education, activism, motherhood and moving forward.

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Susana Ruiz Receives Hewlett 50 Arts Commission

Susana Ruiz, UC Santa Cruz Assistant Professor of Film and Digital Media, together with Emmy Award nominated director of photography and media artist Huy Truong have been selected as one of ten recipients of this year’s Hewlett 50 Arts Commissions in Media Arts. The prestigious grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation will fund the creation of a new media work related to the history of Santa Cruz’s Chinatowns.

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Film & Digital Media Ph.D. Student Exhibits Work in Front of the U.N.

Film and Digital Media Ph.D. candidate Shirin Towfiq has been selected by Hank Willis Thomas’ For Freedoms artist collective to exhibit work in front of the United Nations building in New York. Towfiq was recently in New York for a press preview for the Eyes On Iran installation at FDR Four Freedoms Park, an ongoing event that faces the United Nations building, happening alongside the decision process regarding Iran's membership in the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women. Her work is being shown next to Shirin Neshat, JR, Hank Willis Thomas, Sheida Soleimani, Aphrodite Désirée Navab, Z, Icy and Sot, Mahvash, and Sepideh Mehraban.

Wes Modes and Lauren Benz Complete Interactive Installation in Nevada Desert

Art Department Lecturer Wes Modes (DANM M.F.A. 2015) and Lauren Benz (DANM M.F.A. 2017) recently completed an installation in the Northern Nevada desert. Black Rock Station is an interactive site-specific sound and new media piece that uses Northern Nevada’s railroad history and the Black Rock playa’s harsh and beautiful environment to create a memorable and mysterious experience for participants. The work will be exhibited in Gerlach, Nevada, until August of next year.

Music doctoral student Nina Barzegar Praised in the New York Times’ Critic’s Pick

From the New York Times: Nina Barzegar's world premiere “Inexorable Passage” was thrilling in its fusion of experimental, extended-technique effects, as well as melodic and chordal inventions. Written for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano, the eight-minute “Inexorable Passage” felt packed, and moved along with momentum.

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Cláudio Bueno Co-Curating Parable of the Progress Exhibition

As a co-founder of Explode! Platform, Assistant Professor, Art, Cláudio Bueno, is co-curating the public program of the exhibition Parable of the Progress. The exhibition opened at Sesc Pompeia (Sao Paulo, Brazil) on October 26, 2022, on the occasion of the space’s 40th anniversary. The exhibition takes as its organizing principle the cultural center’s Área de Convivência (Living Space)—whose conception, under architect Lina Bo Bardi’s renovation, was informed by care, sensitivity, and conviviality—to raise utopian values that underlie collective efforts ​​to “build another reality.” An extensive Public Program will feature approximately 50 participants in 60 activities.

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SocDoc Ph.D. Student’s Film Screened at Acclaimed Film Festivals

Mahshid Modares, SocDoc alum (2020) and second-year Ph.D., was interviewed by MENAarts (for youth) in July 2022 for her film Sanctions on the Sky. Mahshid’s exhibition review titled Tangibility and Intangibility in Mani Mehrzad’s Arts was published in Honar Augah Art Magazine in Tehran in June 2022. Sanctions on the Sky was screened at Awareness Film Festival in Los Angeles in October 2022 and at Los Angeles Lift-Off Film Festival on September 2022. 

Sharon Daniel & John Jota Leaños Featured in Campus+Community Center’s Spotlights

In fall 2021, Sharon Daniel, Professor of Film and Digital Media, launched a two-quarter course titled “Reasonable Doubts: Making an Exoneree” co-taught with Georgetown professors Marc Howard and Marty Tankleff. Ghostly Labor: A Dance Film is a culmination of a years-long collaboration between Professor of Film and Digital Media John Jota Leaños, San Francisco-based dance company La Mezcla, and non-profit Ayudando Latinos a Soñar.

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80 Years Later Awarded Grant from Takahashi Foundation

Dean Celine Parreñas Shimizu’s latest film, 80 Years Later, recently won a major award from the Henri and Tomoye Takahashi Charitable Foundation. The gift will enable the film to be more widely distributed and is especially meaningful since this year is the 80th anniversary of the executive order that incarcerated over 120,000 Japanese Americans. The film explores the racial inheritance of Japanese American family incarceration during World War II through multigenerational conversations. Henri and Tomoye Takahashi, along with Tomoye’s sister Martha Masako Suzuki, established the family foundation in 1986. All three American citizens were incarcerated in the Topaz, Utah, concentration camp during World War II simply because of their Japanese ancestry. After the war the family returned to San Francisco, determined to help build friendship and good will for Japanese Americans and to improve understanding with Japan.


ITVS Open Call: Get Your Doc Funded

Get funding and support to complete your single nonfiction program for broadcast on public television—whether you’re an emerging filmmaker or a veteran producer. Open Call gives independent producers up to $350,000 to complete production for a standalone broadcast length documentary to air on public television. Open until December 16, 2022, 11:59 p.m. PST.

Sundance Artist Opportunities

The Sundance Institute’s labs, granting, and mentorship programs operate year-round to support independent artists and bring exciting new work into the world. Several of their programs are now accepting submissions.

Current Calls for Artists:

Major Media Artwork or Urban Interventions for Code:ART 2023

The City of Palo Alto Public Art Program will launch its third interactive media art festival, Code:ART 2023, a three-evening event which re-imagines Palo Alto’s underutilized plazas, alleys, and public spaces through interactive light, sound, and motion.

Funding Through ARI

The Arts Research Institute funding for graduate students offers easy ways to access customized searches for funding sources and receive monthly emails about arts funding opportunities. Check the ARI website for more details, including a list of various links to grants for graduate students that are now available. A new cross-divisional initiative to prepare graduate students in the Arts and Humanities at UC Santa Cruz from historically underrepresented groups to go on to the professoriate has been selected for funding by the UC-Hispanic Serving Institutions Doctoral Diversity Initiative (UC-HSI DDI).

Internships and Living Expenses Funding Available

The Arts Professional Pathways Internship Scholarship supports successful student application and placement in internships by providing resources, events, and individual advising sessions to Arts students seeking internships. Students who are accepted into internships are then eligible to apply for the Arts Division Internship Scholarship Fund that supports living expenses during the period of the internship. Funding averages $1,000 per month, for the duration of the internship and are available on a first come basis as funds are available.

Support for Student Research

The Arts Dean’s Fund for Excellence and Equity supports the dissemination of student research. Qualifying projects need to demonstrate a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. This fund is supported entirely through the generosity of our donors, and remains open for as long as funding is available. Funds are administered through the Office of the Dean of Arts.

Join our events

Fri, Dec. 2

UCSC Jazz Ensembles

Mainstage Theater


Sat, Dec. 3

UCSC Concert Choir

Mainstage Theater


Sun, Dec. 4

Chamber Singers

Mainstage Theater

(free matinee)

January 3-14

Yesterday Ended

Last Night

Sesnon Art Gallery

Thursday, January 12

Sesnon Salon:

Film and Digital Media Department

Sesnon Art Gallery and

Porter koi pond courtyard

(weather permitting)

Thursday, January 19

Sesnon Salon:

History of Art and Visual Culture Department

Sesnon Art Gallery and

Porter koi pond courtyard

(weather permitting)

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