Arts Division Newsletter

Arts Dean’s Student Leadership Board (l-r): Lily Nash, Merve Ünsal, Saul Villegas, Sebastian J. Salazar, Sarina Bozorgnia, Gavin Pinnow, Dima Mabsout, Madalen Benson, Shelly Horn; seated: (l-r) Dean Celine and L. Esthela Bañuelos

photo by Saul Villegas

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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January 25, 2024

Dear Arts Community,


Welcome to the Winter Quarter and our first newsletter of 2024!

In the face of so much uncertainty in the world right now, I am thankful to be part of such an inspiring campus community, sharing our mission in higher education – to analyze and encourage analyses grounded in literature and evidence, deep learning, and respectful speaking and listening. And perhaps most empowering to me now is immersing in the arts to enable difficult conversations towards better understanding. We stand committed to the diversity of our community and acknowledge current distress and strife and the importance of knowing about our campus resources to ensure care of self, mental health and wellness.

Many outstanding events are upon us, including on February 17 when one of India’s most renowned musicians, virtuoso sitar player Nishat Khan will perform in our exquisite Music Center Recital Hall with Nitin Mitta, one of the most sought-after tabla players of his generation. The African American Theater Arts Troupe (AATAT) presents Clyde’s by Lynn Nottage, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner for drama. Opening on February 23, this wonderful play is about a truck stop sandwich shop that offers its formerly incarcerated kitchen staff a chance at reclaiming their lives. The annual dance showcase Random With a Purpose, directed, choreographed, designed and performed by students, opens on March 1. Discover all of our events listed below in this newsletter and at

Come support our students, faculty and staff in our great work at community events such as the Sesnon Salons on Third Thursdays at 4pm at the Koi Pond and so much more. Proximity enables community, which gives opportunity for innovation and collaboration here at UC Santa Cruz where we believe art is needed to solve our world’s problems.

As we step into the new year, may new opportunities bring us joy and change!

Fiat slug,

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People in the Arts

Featured Undergraduate Student

Chanel Chavira

Art and History of Art and Visual Culture (HAVC)

After taking a tour of UC Santa Cruz, Chanel Chavira knew that she had found the perfect place to study. She loved the sheer beauty of the campus with its towering redwood trees and lush greenery, and how very different it was from the other UC campuses she had visited.

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Featured Graduate Student

Allen Riley

Ph.D. Candidate, Film and Digital Media

Allen Riley’s show Synchronization Station is an official selection of the 2024 Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, UT. He performed this work at Indexical in Santa Cruz, CA in January 2023 in a program curated by Michael Masaru Flora. Synchronization Station is a participatory live show about mediated intimacy that is set in a fictional moment in the history of human-computer interaction.

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Featured Faculty

PPD Lecturer Camilla Henneman Featured in Lookout Santa Cruz

Lecturer, Department of Performance, Play & Design

Camilla Henneman is a puppeteer/artist/educator with a 20-year career creating creatures, costumes and puppets for the film industry. She was recently featured in Lookout Santa Cruz for her very popular Performance, Play & Design (PPD) puppetry class. Her work can be seen in Michael Jackson’s Thriller (where she also played a zombie,), Harry and the Hendersons, Gorillas In the Mist, Ghostbusters II, Fight Club, George of the Jungle, Michael, Weird Al Yankovic’s Fat, Childsplay and several other productions.

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Featured Staff

Valéria Miranda, Gallery Director

Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery

Valéria Miranda has several ideas about what she’ll do as the new director of the Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery at UC Santa Cruz. For years, Miranda has been coming to campus to attend performances and lectures and to see exhibitions at the gallery, and she looks forward to collaborating with faculty members, students and alumni. 

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Featured Alumna

Sara Blaylock

PhD Visual Studies, History of Art and Visual Culture (HAVC), 2017

Sara Blaylock has been awarded the Waterloo Centre for German Studies Book Prize for first books published in 2022. Dr. Blaylock is Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Jurors felt that her lively and accessible study "makes a unique and significant contribution to our understanding of the role of (experimental) art in the GDR." A provocative and exciting book that should - and will - be read by many, Parallel Public "strikes out into new explanatory ground," and by so doing "provides a very important corrective to the popular memory of the GDR" and as such serves "as a means for articulating memory and identity."

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Arts In the News

Dean Celine’s The Movies of Racial Childhoods Published by Duke University Press

In The Movies of Racial Childhoods Celine Parreñas Shimizu examines early twenty-first-century cinematic representations of Asian and Asian American children. Drawing on psychoanalysis and her own perspective as a mother grieving for a deceased child, Shimizu considers how cinema renders Asian American children through sexualized racial difference, infantilization, and premature adultification.  

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Dean Celine’s Film 80 YEARS LATER on PBS and KQED-TV

Dean Celine’s film, 80 YEARS LATER, recently premiered on PBS and was aired on KQED-TV in the San Francisco Bay Area on January 16.

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Joseph Erb and John Brown Childs Lead Fireside Chat at Arts Advocacy Council Meeting

Distinguished Professor Emeritus John Brown Childs enjoyed the fireside chat he and Joseph Erb, an assistant professor of Film and Digital Media, had recently at an Arts Advocacy Council meeting. There were several aspects of the conversation that appealed to Childs — including getting to discuss the Indigenous philosophies that inform his work with men in prison and Erb’s as an animator of Cherokee stories. But the best, Childs says, was getting to talk the way they did when Erb and his wife and son were neighbors on campus and would get together for dinner.  

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Sir Isaac Julien Named Fifth Most Influential Artist

ArtReview, one of the world’s leading contemporary art magazines, has named University of California, Santa Cruz Arts and Humanities Professor Sir Isaac Julien as the fifth most influential artist in its ArtReview Power 100 list 

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Book by micha cárdenas Awarded Honorable Mention

Poetic Operations: Trans of Color Art in Digital Media by micha cárdenas, Associate Professor of Critical Race & Ethnic Studies and Performance, Play & Design, was awarded an honorable mention for the American Studies Association Digital Humanities Caucus Book Prize. The committee discussed many laudable elements of the book and were impressed by the level of insight, bold reformulation of algorithms, and important contributions to liberatory thought and action. 

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Continuing Lecturer Ed Gregor Awarded Patent for His Work at Tanzle, Inc.

Ed Gregor, who has been teaching Game Development, 3D Modeling, Texturing, Rigging and Animation in the Art for Games and Playable Media Program since 2015, was awarded a Patent US11825394B1 in November of 2023 for his work at Tanzle, Inc. with Oliver Davies and Kris T. Force. Patent US11825394B1 is the virtualization of sensors and sensor data which can be located inside of buildings, within a software platform, to allow for embodiment of the sonification and visualization of both location and sensor information for enhanced data analysis. This type of invention can help analysts, insurers, first responders and state and local officials better comprehend building and environmental status during or post-event, such as earthquake, fire or other disaster through multi-sensory embodiment of data sonification and visualization. 

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UCSC’s Louise Leong and Shirin Towfiq Selected for the Rydell Visual Arts Fellowship

Head of Exhibitions, Institute of the Arts and Sciences (IAS) Louise Leong and Film and Digital Media Ph.D. student, Shirin Towfiq have both been selected by Community Foundation Santa Cruz County to receive Rydell Visual Arts Fellowship awards for 2024 and 2025. Each fellowship recipient receives a $20,000 award to further their artistic career along with an exhibition of their work at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History.  

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Anna Friz Part of the Rydell Visual Arts Fellowship Exhibition at the MAH

Anna Friz will be part of the Rydell Visual Arts Fellowship exhibition at the Museum of Art and History in Santa Cruz, January 19--March 24, 2024. Blending observation with fiction, she is presenting audio visual work that considers industrialized zones of the Atacama Desert in northern Chile characterized by vast copper and lithium mining operations are radically reshaping the desert. Atacama is a testing ground for both exploration robots like the Mars Rover and for off-planet mining operations envisioned by today's billionaires. Two visual pieces and a parallel multi-channel sound piece consider visiting the desert as a space scientist and as an earthly visitor guided by listening and a desire for adaptation. 

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Marina Magalhães Given 2024 NCCAkron Creative Administration Research Award

Marina Magalhães, UC Santa Cruz Assistant Professor of Dance at the Department of Performance, Play & Design, was awarded the National Center for Choreography Akron (NCCAkron) Creative Administration Research (CAR) 2024 Award. Magalhães is joined by dance artists Kara Jenelle Wade (Atlanta, GA) and taylor knight and anna thompson of slowdanger (Pittsburgh, PA) in the 5th cohort of the NCCAkron CAR program. The Creative Administration Research program supports U.S. dance artists and challenges the field to think beyond the boundaries of known, traditional models and “best practices.” For the past three years, NCCAkron has built a think tank of artists and thought partners across 16 states to do this work.

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Jay Afrisando’s 5-channel Film Installation In Which to Trust? Exhibited at IAS

Assistant Professor of Music Jay Afrisando’s film installation In Which to Trust? is at the UCSC Institute of the Arts and Sciences through March 2, 2024. For this work, five people with diverse hearings (deafness, autism, tinnitus, Ménière’s disease, and “normal” hearing) were invited to interpret sound sources, resulting in open captions that reflect the listeners’ various bodily conditions and experiences. Questioning the superiority—and reality—of so-called “normal” hearing, this work has previously been exhibited at the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum (Washington, D.C.) and Curb Appeal Gallery (Chicago, IL). 

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Distributor The Film Sales Company Acquires Alumnus Juan Mejia Botero’s Igualada

New York-based The Film Sales Company has pounced on the worldwide rights to Colombian documentary feature Igualada by UCSC Film and Digital Media, Social Documentary MFA program alumna (2007) Juan Mejía Botero, ahead of its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in the World Cinema Documentary Competition sidebar. 

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Art Student, Astrid Chevallier, Winner of 2023 Distinguished Artist Award Program

Astrid Chevallier, an established artist and graphic designer, has been selected as the Platinum Award Winner for the 2023 Distinguished Artist Award Program by the City of Cupertino

The Arts and Culture Commission states: "The Distinguished Artist Award Program recognizes established artists that have a substantial body of work, one that displays merit and excellence. The award also celebrates an artist’s contributions to their artistic field and within the art community.” Chevallier is currently enrolled as an Art major at UCSC, with the goals of developing her practice and becoming an art professor.

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Jon Ayon Alonso and Jamilli Pacheco-Urquiza Huerta Center Awardees

Assistant Professor, Film and Digital Media, Jon Ayon Alonso has been recognized as a Huerta Center Awardee for his work Niki•Tomi•Beto. Also recognized was FDM graduate student, Jamilli Pacheco-Urquiza, for En Puerto Escondido. The Dolores Huerta Research Center for the Americas (Huerta Center) at UC Santa Cruz is thrilled to support research by UC Santa Cruz faculty and graduate students as well as sponsor three research clusters.

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Art Professor Elizabeth Stephens Co-Producing Whore’s Eye View

On February 17, at the ATA Gallery in San Francisco, Beth Stephens will be co-producing Kaytlin Bailey’s Whore’s Eye View, a mad dash through 10,000 years of history from a sex worker’s perspective. Stephens and her partner Annie Sprinkle will join Bailey for a post-show Q&A talk back.

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Mitra Ghaffari’s Thesis Film Bicycle Island at Big Sky Documentary Film Festival

Film and Digital Media, Social Documentary (SocDoc) alumna Mitra Ghaffari’s thesis film Bicycle Island is screening in February at Big Sky Documentary Film Festival—one of the major documentary film festivals in the United States.

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King Artist in Residence for the Palo Alto Public Art Program

The Palo Alto Public Art Program invites experienced public artists, art collectives, and community leaders/artist partnerships with a history of community engagement and conversation as part of their art practice, to apply to be the next King Artist in Residence for the Palo Alto Public Art Program and the City of Palo Alto. Application deadline: February 2, 2024.

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Just Tech Fellowship

This fellowship supports and mobilizes diverse and cross-sector cohorts of practitioners to imagine and create more just, equitable, and representative technological futures. Fellows receive two-year awards of $100,000 annually, robust supplementary funding to subsidize additional expenses, and separate seed funding to collaborate with other Just Tech Fellows. Deadline: January 31, 2024

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Martin House Creative Residency Program

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House (Buffalo, New York) is searching for applications to its Creative Residency Program. The residency provides individuals from multiple disciplines a thought-provoking environment in which to produce new works of the imagination inspired by one of the great examples of 20th century architecture. Residents will receive a stipend of $5,000. Travel expenses of up to $1,000 will also be provided to residents who are from outside the Buffalo-Niagara region. Deadline: February 16, 2024

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ODC's Queer and BIPOC Space Residency Initiative (San Francisco)

The residency will provide a home base, supporting five dance artists/companies from Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and LGBTQIA2S+ communities, each with a 30-hour space residency in one of ODC’s studios. Applications Due: January 31, 2024

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Santa Cruz Shakespeare 2024 Seasonal Hiring

Santa Cruz Shakespeare is seeking to fill various production staff positions, and seasonal Front-of-House team members to help with their 2024 summer season. The positions start in early July and continue until the end of September. Work times are during the daytime, evenings, and weekends on a rotating basis (based on performance calendar).

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Glimmerglass Festival (New York) Seasonal Staff Positions

The Glimmerglass Festival is a summer destination in Upstate New York where audiences from across the country and the world come to experience world-class opera, musical theater, and cultural events in a beautiful, relaxing setting. They are now accepting applications for open seasonal staff positions.

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Arts Dean’s Fund for Excellence and Equity

The Arts Dean’s Fund for Excellence and Equity (ADFEE) is dedicated to supporting the dissemination of student research. Qualifying projects must demonstrate a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. This fund is supported entirely through the generosity of our donors, and remains open as long as funding is available. Funds are administered through the Office of the Dean of Arts. Applications are reviewed each quarter. Next deadline: February 15, 2023 Decisions will follow within two weeks.

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Arts Research Institute (ARI) — Funding Available

The Arts Research Institute administers a number of grant programs that support arts research and practice, visiting artists, and collaborative interdisciplinary arts-based research across the UC Santa Cruz campus. Funding is available for faculty, students, visiting artists, and research.

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Lakas Shimizu Memorial Scholarship Award for Students in the Arts

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. The scholarship honors Lakas’ spirit by supporting students in the arts who engage in artistic and creative scholarly practice, and who organize people together to make an impact for inclusion and equity.

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Join our events

All events at

Friday, February 2

First Friday Artist-led Workshop:

Maria Gaspar's Disappearance Jail

IAS Galleries, 100 Panetta Ave.

Thursday, February 8

A'ai: Film screening and conversation

IAS Galleries, 100 Panetta Ave.

Thursday, February 15

Sesnon Salon: Film and Digital Media

Koi pond courtyard, Porter College (UCSC)

Saturday, February 17

Special guest: Nishat Khan, sitar

Classical Indian Music

Start time: 6:00 pm

Recital Hall (UCSC)

Tuesday, February 20

Preview screening: Ghosts of Adelanto

Del Mar Theatre, Santa Cruz

Friday, February 23

[opera captions]: Colloquium

Digital Arts Research Center (UCSC)

Friday, February 23

Opening Night: Clyde's by Lynn Nottage

Theater Arts Mainstage (UCSC)

Thursday, February 29

UCSC Orchestra

Recital Hall (UCSC)

Friday, March 1

Night of Ideas

IAS Galleries, 100 Panetta Ave.


Friday, March 1

Opening Night:

Random With a Purpose XXXII

Theater Arts Mainstage (UCSC)

Friday, March 1

UCSC Wind Ensemble

Recital Hall (UCSC)

Saturday, March 2

UCSC Central Asian Ensemble

Recital Hall (UCSC)

Saturday, March 9

UCSC Concert Choir

Recital Hall (UCSC)

Friday, March 15

Art Department Open Studios

Baskin Visual Arts Center (UCSC)

Saturday, March 16

UCSC Chamber Singers

Recital Hall (UCSC)

Sunday, March 17

UCSC Jazz Ensembles

Recital Hall (UCSC)

Friday-Saturday, June 7-8

50th Annual UCSC Print Sale

Baskin Visual Arts Center (UCSC)

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