Arts Division Newsletter


screenshot vimeo opening - Art of Change.png

The Art of Change podcast features Professor Sharon Daniel talking about her class collaboration with Georgetown University’s Making an Exoneree.

From the Dean of the Arts

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

Distinguished Professor of Film and Digital Media

pref-8-24-21-Celine Parren_as Shimizu-CL-022-CROP2.jpg

April 29, 2022

Hello Arts Division and our Dear Community,

The arts are essential to creating a more just world. What the arts possess in our research and creative activity is the special ability to better understand our times, make present history, ignite emotions, and galvanize action through crafting our understandings of the world as it needs to be, as it should be. UCSC Arts Division—in every department, program and research unit—presents new sounds, visions and feelings—that the world needs to experience.

As we approach graduation, the Arts Division scheduled our 3rd annual Find YOUR Path! event on Friday, April 15 to demystify career paths. Our guests included alumni and other leading artists and arts professionals all of whom shared how they professionalized and deepened their craft and study after graduation. Students, let me again remind you to apply for the Arts Professional Pathways Internship Scholarship with its final deadline of May 15. Seize your opportunities!

For Arts faculty, staff and students: I look forward to the final Sesnon Salon of the year featuring the Department of Film and Digital Media, on Thursday, May 19 at 4:00 p.m. It is food for the soul to be with you in celebration of our latest and greatest research and practice in the Arts. Join us!

And to our larger arts community, we shall open up our monthly Sesnon Salons next year and cannot wait for you to come to campus and gather with us!

Best wishes,

Dean Celine

sig-Dean Celine signature 2-Star version.png

email me: artsdean@ucsc.edu

Photo: Carolyn Lagattuta

Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

People in the Arts

Mari Mafnas-SQ.png

Featured Undergraduate Student

Mari Mafnas

Studio Art Major, HAVC Minor

After a visit to the Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery on a campus tour, Marian (Mari) Mafnas knew that UCSC was the place for her. She had been touring various colleges and happened to come across the annual Irwin Scholars exhibition. “I was blown away by the quality of work that was shown in that space,” she says. “I chose to join the Art program here because I was excited to start making work in the same caliber as the pieces I saw.”

Read More

SQ-Ben Dorfan.png

Featured Graduate Student

Ben Dorfan

Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) in Music Composition 

On April 2 and 3, 2022, first-year D.M.A. student Ben Dorfan directed a Santa Cruz Chamber Players concert, featuring the world premiere of his Clarinet Sonata and works by Lili Boulanger, Beethoven, Prokofiev, and Stravinsky. Titled The Hero’s Journey, the program focused on compo-sitions written in challenging circumstances such as war, exile, political repression, and chronic illness.

Read More

SQ-Kailani Polzak.png

Featured Faculty

Kailani Polzak

Assistant Professor, History of Art and Visual Culture (HAVC)

Kailani Polzak, Assistant Professor in HAVC, was awarded a 2022-2023 Getty Foundation and American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) postdoctoral fellowship in the history of art. This fellowship will support the research and writing of her current book Difference Over Distance: Visualizing Contact between Europe and Oceania. Per the ACLS press release, “The awards are designed to advance innovative scholarship in art history and welcome approaches to research that highlight voices, narratives, and regions of the world that have been historically excluded and under-studied in the academy.”

Read More


Featured Staff

Louise Leong

Manager, Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery

Louise Leong, the Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery manager and museum preparator, has recently experienced what she calls her “World Series” of exhibitions on the UC Santa Cruz campus. Supervising the delivery of 44 crates filled with priceless artworks that came to her via two, 53-foot tractor trailers, was no small feat.

Read More


Featured Alumnus

Jackson Kroopf

SocDoc, 2017

Film and Digital Media, SocDoc M.F.A. alumnus Jackson Kroopf was selected as a Sundance Humanities Sustainability Fellow for the new hybrid feature doc The Unbelievably Difficult and Worthy Art of Survival, about a 94-year-old Hungarian Holocaust survivor who taught acting and dance for decades and is creating a performance manifesto on her approach to the art of survival. Jackson is the second SocDoc M.F.A. alumnus to receive such funding, as Brian Meyers received NEH pass through funding from ITVS.

Arts in the News


Coming Together to Heal

Lakas Shimizu was a gentle warrior, a deeply caring, generous, and empathetic young man who had a gift for drawing people together. Lakas unexpectedly passed away at the tender age of eight. In his memory, his family—parents Dan Shimizu and Celine Parreñas Shimizu, brother Bayan Shimizu, and grandfather Robert Shimizu—established a scholarship at UC Santa Cruz.

Read More


Graduate Student in Film Discusses Her Research

Yasmine Benabdallah, first-year Ph.D. student in Film & Digital Media, was published on Screen Worlds, a European Research Council-funded project based at SOAS University of London, the podcast Decolonising The Moroccan Archive by Yasmine Benabdallah and Rim Mejdi is an intimate account of the conditions of history/ies’s erasure and dispossession perpetuated by the ongoing fabrication of a missing or inaccessible archive.

Read More

SQ-Bumgarner - Alum.png

Alumna Wins Opera Competition

Soprano Lauren Bumgarner (B.A. Music 2018), who is now working on her master’s of music in vocal performance at Colorado State University, won first place in the Denver Lyric Opera Guild’s 2022 competition and was given the Ada Belle Spencer Foundation Award of $10,000.

Read more


Professor Discusses Her New Book

Professor micha cárdenas is doing a series of talks about her new book Poetic Operations: Trans of Color Art in Digital Media, published by Duke University Press in March 2022, as well as her new work on the poetics of trans ecologies. Her next talk is April 29-30 at Errant Voices Conference, University of Chicago.

Read More

SQ-Haoran Chang.png

DANM Alum Publishes Essay on VR

Haoran Chang, Digital Arts and New Media (DANM 2021), recently published the essay, Emersive VR: An expanded immersive VR practice based on his MFA thesis. It appears in Virtual Creativity, Volume 11, Number 2, 1 October 2021, pp. 207-222(16).

Read More

SQ-Raed El Rafei - Student.png

Ph.D. Candidate Receives Recognition

Raed El Rafei. 5th-year Ph.D. candidate in Film and Digital Media had an essay Pasolini and the Queer Revolution in Beirut was published in the 2022 April issue of e-flux journal. Launched in 2008, e-flux journal is a monthly art publication featuring writings by some of the most engaged artists and thinkers working today. El Rafei’s short essay film Al-Atlal (The Ruins) received an honorable mention at the closing ceremony of this year's 32nd Onion City Experimental Film and Video Festival in Chicago on April 3rd. 

SQ-Avital Meshi.png

Alumna Mounts Solo Exhibition

Avital Meshi, Digital Arts and New Media (DANM 2020), mounted an online solo exhibition, Subverting the Algorithmic Gaze curated by Goldie Gross, Alejandra López-Oliveros, and Janelle Miniter at the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU. The show includes four of Meshi’s recent projects that invite audience members to think critically about their relationship with technology and how it can play a role in constructing identity.

Read More

SQ-Christina Ayson Plank.png

Ph.D. Candidate Launches Digital Archive

On April 9, 2022, the Watsonville is in the Heart research initiative, in partnership with the local grassroots organization The Tobera Project, launched a novel digital archive featuring oral history recordings, photographs, and family artifacts that capture the rich history of Filipino life and labor in California’s Pajaro Valley. The digital archive is directed by UCSC graduate students Christina Ayson Plank, 4th-year Ph.D. Candidate in Visual Culture History of Art and Visual Culture (HAVC) and Meleia Simon-Reynolds, Ph.D. candidate in the History Department. The launch event was hosted at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History and included a presentation of the archive and panel with contributors of the archive.

SQ-The Nation-quote Celine-Illustration Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya.png

Dean Celine Quoted in The Nation

Dean Celine Parreñas Shimizu is quoted in the latest issue of The Nation in the cover article by Panthea Lee Sex, Death, and Empire: The Roots of Violence Against Asian Women.

Read More

SQ-Maggie Wander.png

HAVC Team Co-edits Journal

Last month, Maggie Wander, Ph.D. candidate, Visual Studies/HAVC, and Stacy Kamehiro, associate professor, History of Art and Visual Culture co-edited a special issue of Pacific Arts (The Journal of the Pacific Arts Association). It’s focused on the theme Pacific Island Worlds: Oceanic Dis/Positions and explores past and present visual art forms and practices related to place-making and identity formations in Oceania.

Read More

SQ-Zoe Weldon-Yochim.png

Ph.D. Candidate Awarded Two Fellowships

Zoe Weldon-Yochim, a fourth-year Ph.D. Candidate in Visual Studies, was recently awarded Smithsonian and Luce/ ACLS Predoctoral Fellowships. She will hold the 2022-23 Douglass Foundation Fellowship in American Art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM), and is the first UCSC Visual Studies student to hold a SAAM fellowship. Weldon-Yochim also received the Luce/ ACLS Dissertation Fellowship in American Art from the American Council of Learned Societies and the Henry Luce Foundation, which she will use during the 2023-24 academic year.


Alumnus Rick Carter's Work Featured in Exhibition at ESMoA

Experience 51: TIME will offer a backstage pass into one of Hollywood’s most imaginative artists, the man who gave us a feel for Time from the worlds of Jurassic Park, to the time traveling roller-coaster-sequels of Back To The Future, the epic story of Forrest Gump or the historic dramas of Lincoln

and Amistad, all the way up to the imaginary future of A.I., Star Wars and Avatar. TIME will try to condense Rick Carter’s ability to make Time come alive and will track down his ‘source code’ in the attempt to let it boost and inspire a younger generation of artists.

Read More

SQ-Force Majeure logo.png

Force Majeure Awarded Grant

Fires Next Time, led by Joshua Harrison, co-director of one of the Arts Division’s research centers, Center for the Study of the Force Majeure, in collaboration with Kai Zhu, associate professor of environmental studies, and Katia Obraszka, professor of computer science and engineering, was awarded a seed grant from UCSC for development. Monies are to support an initial workshop with all the stakeholders in Lake County, including Robinson Rancheria, Lake County High School and other community members.

Read More


Student Success image - table.png

Funding for Student Success

The Arts Professional Pathways Internships Scholarships and the Arts Dean’s Fund for Excellence and Equity are both open and accepting applications from Arts undergraduate and graduate students. Both of these funds are part of our Student Success program in the Arts. Arts students are encouraged to review the criteria and apply!

SQ-Peace Studio-Opportunites.png

Peace Studio Fellowship (Journalists & Artists)

The Peace Studio Fellowship is a one-year, application-based program that provides $10,000 to mid-career artists and journalists to create an art and/or storytelling project focused on healing existing divisions and building bridges in their community. They are seeking a diverse cohort of talented artists and journalists to come together with one common cause – to build peace.

SQ-Pat _ Rowland Rebele.png

Rebele Grant for HAVC students

Applications are currently being accepted for the Rebele Grant. These grants, generously funded by Patricia and Rowland Rebele, are available to history of art & visual culture majors and minors regardless of college affiliation. Students may request support for research, travel for study purposes, costs related to accepting an internship, or expenses that aid the successful completion of their studies. Application deadline: Monday, May 9, 2022.

Read more

SQ-BOLD.ORG-Scholarships in California - Student in College.png

Scholarships for California Students

This page features scholarships specifically for California students and also has a lot of information on the student experience in California, including: educational opportunities, statistics on student debt, and how to find and apply for scholarships.

SQ-Redwood Free Market.png

Support the Redwood Free Market for Students

The Redwood Free Market, formerly known as the Slug Support Food Pantry, provides vital food resources for UC Santa Cruz students. A crowdfunding campaign has been launched with an initial goal of $5,000, which will fund the Redwood Free Market for one academic quarter. Small gifts can make a big impact: $5.25 funds one full week of meals for a student visiting Redwood Free Market.

Mellon ACLS image.jpeg

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Innovation Fellowship Program

The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) is pleased to announce the launch of the Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Innovation Fellowships, a new program designed to support emerging scholars as they advance bold and innovative research in the humanities and interpretive social sciences. The program is made possible by a grant from the Mellon Foundation.

Read More

Join our events

SQ-DANM MFA 2022.png

Ends April 30 (in person)

DANM M.F.A. Exhibition: unforgetting

Students from the Digital Arts & New Media (DANM) program present their work in the 2022 DANM M.F.A. exhibition. Go on a self-guided tour in the Digital Arts Research Center between 12-5 pm.

Read More

April 14 Strange Weather-SQ.png

Through August 14 (in person)

Strange Weather: Contemporary Art

This Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery exhibit illuminates and reframes the boundaries of bodies and the environment. Spanning five decades, from 1970-2020, the works are drawn together for how they creatively call attention to the impact and history of forced migrations, industrialization, global capitalism, and trauma on humans and the contemporary landscape. Showing concurrently at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History in downtown Santa Cruz.

Read more

SQ-Nicole Rudolph-Vallerga - Student.png

Through April 29 (in person)

Liminal Spaces

Nicole Rudolph-Vallerga, senior art and HAVC double major who is graduating after this quarter, has her final UCSC art show Liminal Spaces at the Sesnon Underground through April 29, 12-5 p.m. and a closing reception on April 29, 3-6 p.m.

Read More

SQ-VMCC_Lichen walk.png

May 4 (in person)

The Lichen Museum

Professor Laurie Palmer, presents a talk and introduction to The Lichen Museum that will contextualize its framing within practices of land art and histories of museum cultures, while preparing visitors to enter at any time, free of charge.

Read More

Surge Afrofuturism festival image.png

May 6-28 (in person and online)

Surge: Explorations in Afrofuturism

Utilizing the arts, science, and technology to imagine—and create—a world where African-descended peoples and cultures can live and flourish, the concept of Afrofuturism has gripped the imagination of creatives from around the globe.

Read More


May 6-15 (in person)

Random With a Purpose XXX

UC Santa Cruz’s annual student dance production, Random With A Purpose, is a collaboratively student-run and student-created dance production. Random provides students with the opportunity to choreograph, dance in, and produce a collective performance.

Read More

SQ-CC-IAS_May 9 Nishat Khan _ David Murray.png

May 9 (in person)

Nishat Khan & David Murray in Concert

A live music performance and original Afrofuturism Hindustani collaboration with Indian sitar player Nishat Khan and American jazz saxophonist and composer David Murray.

Read More

SQ-VMCC_Forgiveness_ by Gwen Arkin _2021_.png

May 11 (online)

VMCC: Seaweed Selfies

Melody Jue, UC Santa Barbara Associate Professor of English, presents "Seaweed Selfies: Photomedia, Interdigitation, and Hawaiian Networked Images," as part of the Visual and Media Cultures Colloquia (VMCC) series.

Register here

Place to Belong crop image-SQ.png

Opening May 13 (in person)

A Place to Belong

by Marisela Treviño Orta

Director Kinan Valdez and choreographer Vanessa Sanchez incorporate movement, percussive dance arrangements, spoken word, technology, and the Fandango tradition of son jarocho (from Veracruz, Mexico) to celebrate the resilience and resistance of lived experiences and survival of Bay Area youth.

Read More


May 20 (online and in person)

April in Santa Cruz: Yarn/Wire

Yarn/Wire's residency at UC Santa Cruz has brought forth four distinctive new works from composers Seth Glickman, Ben Dorfan, Nina Barzegar, and Rodrigo Barriga. At New York's TENRI Institute, Yarn/Wire will feature a variety of their current repertoire from composers around the world, including Santa Cruz participants from their residency, and the work of UCSC professor of music Ben Leeds Carson.

Read More

Amduat image.png

May 20-29 (in person)

Amduat: The 12 Hours of Ra

The mummy awakens, humans become gods, and museums come to life. Confronting the Egyptian-American diaspora, Amduat brings the audience on a journey through life and death over the course of one night. Join a docent-led "tour" with major figures from Egypt’s Pharaonic age in this immersive multi-media theatrical experience written and directed by DANM graduate student Laura Boutros.

Read More


May 20 (in person)

UCSC Orchestra

The Orchestra performs works by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Jesse Montgomery, Otto Nicolai, and Tchaikovsky. Conducted by Bruce Kiesling.

Read More

SQ-IAS_5_23_22 AbolitionFeminismNow.png

May 21 (in person)

Abolition. Feminism. Now.

The UCSC Institute of the Arts and Sciences presents Abolitionist scholars Angela Davis, Gina Dent, Erica Meiners, and Beth Richie discussing their new book, Abolition. Feminism. Now. Live in the Quarry Amphitheater at UCSC.

Read More

Opera-Fairy Queen-SQ.png

May 27-28 (in person)

Opera: The Fairy Queen

The UC Santa Cruz Music Department presents Henry Purcell’s The Fairy Queen in a special outdoor production to celebrate the return of fully-staged, live opera at UCSC. Considered a semi-opera, the piece was written as incidental music for William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Bruce Kiesling conducts, Sheila Willey directs.

Read More

Facebook  Twitter  Instagram