Arts Division Newsletter

Dean Celine celebrates the launch of her latest book, The Movies of Racial Childhoods: Screening Self-Sovereignty in Asian/America (Duke University Press) with a special cake created to look like all the books she has written. Please join us for the campus book launch on Thursday, March 21, 5-7pm at Sesnon Galleries above the Koi Pond.

photo credit: PAIGE K. PARSONS; book cover by Nicholas Uglow (Art Department 2023)

Message from the Dean of 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

March 20, 2024

Dear Arts Community,


Welcome Spring! This month, I look forward to celebrating with you and our community the launch of my most recent book The Movies of Racial Childhoods: Screening Self-Sovereignty in Asian/America (Duke University Press, 2024) at the Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery on Thursday, March 21, 5-7 p.m. The book explores the representation of Asian and Asian American children in contemporary industry and independent cinema to craft a viewing practice that helps children, including the inner child, through the movies. Our new Sesnon Gallery director, Valéria Miranda, will join me in conversation and invite you to participate!


Many outstanding student performances take place in our breathtaking Music Center Recital Hall as well as our signature annual event, April in Santa Cruz (April 7-27), which for the first time has an interdisciplinary Arts and Humanities-focused component. Featuring works by UC Santa Cruz faculty and graduate students, this year’s program emphasizes women, LGBTQ and BIPOC composers and performing artists representing various musical styles.

On April 12, Sowing Seeds: Filipino American Stories from the Pajaro Valley opens at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History (MAH). Curated by HAVC PhD candidate, Christina Ayson Plank and Watsonville in in the Heart (WIITH), this stunning exhibition explores Filipino labor and migration to the Pajaro Valley from the 1930s to the present and features archival materials from 17 family collections found on the Watsonville is in the Heart digital archive. This exhibition is very close to my heart and reminds us how communities that built this area and contributed so much and should not be forgotten. Sowing Seeds tells us about this very important part of our history here in Santa Cruz County, and brings the stories of these very brave people and their families back to life, reminding us about the crucial role Filipinos played in our community’s history and development. I am especially looking forward to poet Shirley Ancheta’s sharing the poetry of her deceased husband, the community treasure Jeff Tagami. 


Be sure to join us at our next Sesnon Salon on Thursday, April 18 that will feature the great work of our Department of Performance, Play and Design, and on April 19 and 20 the 33rd Annual Pilipinx Cultural Celebration, Maganda Kami, will be presented in the Theater Arts Mainstage by the student-led organization, Bayanihan. The Indian Student Association's annual cultural presentation takes place the following week on April 27.

Keeping close connections with each other on campus, throughout the community and beyond is crucial to our students’ success. We have only a very short time with our students and my goal is to enable their strength and excellence so they are prepared to face the challenges and discover the opportunities that await them. A great example is the excellence of our faculty’s work and the unflagging devotion of our staff to our institution. Bolstering our alumni and community connections makes a difference in students’ lives and the life of our beloved UC Santa Cruz. Let us take care of each other across generations, dear Banana Slugs! 


Alumni, friends, and families, please join me in community and collaboration by supporting our students and programs.


With gratitude,

sig-Dean Celine signature 2-Star version.png

email me:

Facebook  Instagram

People in the Arts

Featured Undergraduate Student

Beatriz Canuto

Film and Digital Media

Senior student in Film and Digital Media, Beatriz Canuto, is embarking on her musical journey, and unveiled three songs with accompanying videos last February. Created outside the studio, these tracks represent a significant step in her artistic exploration. Love Tragedies explores the intricacies of emotionally exhausted individuals unable to reciprocate love. In Parasocial, she delves into one-sided relationships on celebrities, public figures, and fictional characters. Wine & Roses captures the dreams and yearning for companionship, expressed through vibrant visuals. As she kickstarts her musical journey, she invites everyone to explore her previous work on her YouTube channel.

Read More

Featured Graduate Student

Em Butler

Film and Digital Media

Social Documentation MFA

Congratulations to Em Butler, first year SocDoc MFA, for winning this year’s People’s Choice award at the 2024 Grad Slam which took place on March 2 at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in downtown Santa Cruz. Butler, who’s from Long Beach, CA, won for her entry, Coming Home to Mango Orchards, and says she chose to attend UC Santa Cruz for graduate study because “the social documentation program engages in political inquiry, so I trusted I’d be in spaces with other like-minded people with big hearts and minds.”

Read More

Featured Faculty

John Jota Leaños

Film and Digital Media

Professor of Film & Digital Media, John Jota Leaños’s installation delving into the trauma experienced in Indian residential schools throughout the Americas is featured in the traveling exhibition, Contemporary Ex-Votos: Devotion Beyond Medium at Gallery 400 and the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum in Chicago. The show was recently reviewed in the Chicago Tribune. Professor Leaños is also the lead media artist for the performance by Vanessa Sanchez and La Mezcla, Ghostly Labor, a dance theater work which is premiering in San Jose at the Hammer Museum on March 21 and 22.

Read More

Featured Staff

Lili Diaz

Human Resource Specialist, Arts Division

Lili Diaz would describe herself as someone who’s much less funny than she thinks she is. As a Santa Cruz native Diaz was excited to move back home after graduating from San Jose State University. It’s been almost one year since Diaz started at University of California, Santa Cruz as a human resource specialist in the Arts Division where she loves getting together with students and helping them succeed.

Read More

Featured Alumnus

Dr. Kortney Ryan Ziegler

Film and Digital Media, 2003

Dr. Kortney Ryan Ziegler’s expertise spans across multiple disciplines. Ziegler is an award-winning tech entrepreneur, filmmaker, producer, social justice advocate, and scholar. Since graduating from UC Santa Cruz in 2003, he has founded four applications and platforms that address social issues head-on and provide solutions for them.

Read More

Arts In the News

Stranger Things VR Game Co-Written by Samantha Gorman in Partnership with Netflix, Meta

A new virtual reality (VR) game set in the world of Netflix’s hit series Stranger Things launches today—and UC Santa Cruz Assistant Teaching Professor of Computational Media Samantha Gorman is a key creative mind behind it as the game’s co-writer and narrative director. Gorman, who also is affiliated with UCSC’s Arts Division, said that this game reflects her passions for interactive narrative, immersive world design, and directing, which she brings to her teaching of UCSC engineering and arts students.

Read More

Distinguished Professor Sir Isaac Julien Featured in A Model at MUDAM in Luxembourg

This major group exhibition, A Model at MUDAM, (February 9 – September 8, 2024) proposes a reflection on the role of the museum at the beginning of the 21st century. It reaffirms the need to think of the institution as a living place, sensitive and receptive to contemporary debates. Isaac Julien’s 2022 work Once Again... (Statues Never Die) will be on view. (photo: Isaac Julien, Night Rain (Once Again... Statues Never Die), 2022, courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro.)

Read More

AGPM Highly Ranked by Animation Career Review

The Art and Design: Games & Playable Media Program (AGPM) within the Department of Performance, Play & Design (PPD) recently received several top rankings from Animation Career Review’s 2024 Game Design School Rankings, including #7 in the Top 50 nationally, #3 in the Top 25 nationally among public schools and colleges, and #2 in the Top 10 in California and on the West Coast. These are their 12th annual rankings for animation and they considered over 150 schools with game design programs from across the U.S. in preparing this year's rankings.

Read More

Allen Riley’s Videofreak on Display at the Museum of the Moving Image

Allen Riley, PhD Candidate, Film and Digital Media, has his video installation and arcade game Videofreak on display at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, NY through September 8, 2024. Videofreak reimagines the arcade game experience by emphasizing the art of video manipulation over traditional gameplay elements like scorekeeping and end goals. Inspired by the participatory ethos of the Portapak-wielding Videofreex art collective from the late ’60s and ’70s, the work connects the legacy of experimental video and audio synthesis tools to an interactive format for a wide audience.

Read More

Livia Perez’s Documentary at the Hammer Museum

Dital Arts and New Media (DANM) alumna and Film and Digital Media lecturer Livia Perez’s multi-awarded documentary, Who Killed Eloá?, was screened at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles in the Spotlight on: Brazilian Filmmakers Collective programmed by the UCLA Film and Television Archive. Livia’s film was screened on March 2nd, followed by a Q&A with her and other members of the Brazilian Filmmakers Collective. Who Killed Eloá? has almost a million views on streaming and in festivals like Hot Docs and was awarded Best Short Documentary by the Alliance for Women in Media (Southern California).

Read More

DANM MFA Students Meet with Director of Museo d'Arte Moderna di Bologna

For the MFA thesis exhibition course, DANM 215, graduating DANM MFA students met in-person and conducted studio visits with international visiting curator Lorenzo Balbi. Lorenzo Balbi, is the director of Museo d'Arte Moderna di Bologna (MAMbo) in Bologna, Italy and oversees the Villa of the Roses, Morandi Museum and house, and the Museum for the Memory of Ustica and Residence for artists. Balbi’s approach to public museum practice reflects a careful consideration of the historical richness of Italian art and culture, while also embracing contemporary exhibition praxis including artist residencies and city-wide festivals.

Voice Students Win Accolades at Classical Auditions for SFBAC NATS

On March 2, eight undergrad students, who all study voice at UCSC with lecturers Sheila Willey and Emily Sinclair, participated in the Classical auditions for the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (SFBAC NATS). Conor Warshawsky and Gavin Pinnow tied for first place in the Upper College lower voice division; Maddison Ramirez took third place in the Lower College Treble voice division; and Kristiana Budke was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Upper College Treble division. Last fall, a number of students participated in the SFBAC NATS Musical Theater auditions as well. In the Lower College lower voice division, Louis Santia won first place, and Andrew Palacios won third. In the Upper College combined division, Gavin Pinnow won second place, Luna Gulisano won third place, and Kristiana Budke was awarded an Honorable Mention. Err Shirley was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Lower College treble division.

Read More

AGPM Student Jane Grantham Wins Gold at the Game Developers Conference

Last fall, Jane Grantham, fourth year undergraduate, Art & Design: Games & Playable Media (AGPM) in the Performance, Play and Design Department, submitted her work to the Narrative Review Competition hosted by the Game Developers Conference and was honored as a Gold Winner for her paper on Sally Face (2016). Participating students chose a game title and conducted a detailed and structured analysis of its narrative elements. Grantham is the first UCSC student since 2020 to claim a GDC Narrative Award. During the spring, she will attend the conference during the Narrative Summit to discuss her work.

Read More

micha cárdenas' Artworks Featured at Art Souterrain Festival

The Probability Engine: Permafrost and the Last Piece of Antarctic Ice (2024) is being featured at Art Souterrain in Montreal March 16 - April 7 which addresses the urgent issue of the environment and climate change and will lead the public to think about the future and rethink their relationship with the environment. This series of artworks envisions a machine allowing audiences to explore potential futures of climate disasters and justice. Three sculptures, 3D printed from recycled materials, form the core of this work. Additionally, an augmented reality app depicts the effects of permafrost loss and explores potential solutions. The project highlights tipping points and their consequences, such as Antarctic ice melting leading to sea-level rise. Collaborating with scientific publications, micha cárdenas, Associate Professor of Critical Race & Ethnic Studies and Performance, Play & Design, and her team have created an immersive installation, making the realities of frozen landscapes and our interdependence tangible.

Read More

Andy Zenczak Wins 7th Annual California Music Video Viewer’s Choice Award

Andy Zenczak, electronic music studios tech, recently won his second California Music Video Award at the seventh annual gala in San Francisco. The music video he directed, West of West and East of Tokio (for James Hand) for Santa Cruz-based artist The Carolyn Sills Combo, won top honors in the Viewer’s Choice category for Best Duet. Featuring the vocals of Carolyn Sills and Sunshine Jackson, Zenczak worked with the artist to mix, direct and edit the award-winning video. Zenczak has produced, mixed, and engineered over 2,000 recordings for commercial release since 2001.

Read More

Cláudio Bueno, Assistant Professor, Art, with João Simões, Exhibits Work at IAS

Passagem (2024) is an artistic project created by the Explode! Platform, which will take place April 12, 2024-January 5, 205, as an intervention in the library of the Institute of Arts and Sciences (IAS). The project combines a space for study, translation, lectures, and performances, bringing writings and thoughts on abolitionism from Brazil. This project is an ongoing dialogue with the Visualizing Abolition program. This collaboration was marked by the Visualizing Abolition Dinner São Paulo (2023), organized by  Explode at/with Casa do Povo. It was attended by a group of 40 people who are actively engaged in the abolitionist debate in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Read More

Professor Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle Perform with Guillermo Gómez-Peña

On March 27th, Professor of Art Beth Stephens and her partner Annie Sprinkle will join Guillermo Gómez-Peña and the La Pocha Nostra troupe in Living Dioramas for a Museum of the Future, an evening of interactive performance and live art celebrating the legacy of Guillermo Gómez-Peña and La Pocha.

Read More


UCSC Dean's and Chancellor's Undergraduate Research Awards

Due: March 29

The Deans and Chancellor of UC Santa Cruz wish to recognize excellence in research and creativity among undergraduate students as evidenced through projects and theses performed in the normal pattern of academic activity at UCSC. The online application for the 2024 Deans' and Chancellor's Undergraduate Awards is open. Prior to starting an application, contact your project mentor to confirm that they are willing to submit a letter of recommendation on your behalf. All 2024 applications must be completed and submitted online by Friday, March 29, 2024. All graduating Dean's and Chancellor's winners will be recognized in the commencement program during UC Santa Cruz's graduation ceremonies.

Read More


Submission deadline: March 31, various financial support

The WESTAF Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Artist Fund provides resources to and for BIPOC artists living in the 16 states and jurisdictions in the WESTAF region. The program emphasizes self-determination for BIPOC artists and their communities.

Read More

Creative Capital

Submission deadline: Letter of Inquiry due April 4th, $50,000 unrestricted

For our 25th Anniversary in 2025, Creative Capital welcomes innovative and original new project proposals in visual arts, performing arts, film/moving image, technology, literature, multidisciplinary, and socially engaged forms.

Read More

NEH Fellowships

Submission deadline: April 10, $60,000

Fellowships provide recipients time to conduct research or to produce books, monographs, peer-reviewed articles, e-books, digital materials, translations with annotations or a critical apparatus, or critical editions resulting from previous research. Projects may be at any stage of development. Must notify the UCSC Office of Sponsored Projects by March 27.

Read More

NEH–Awards for Faculty at HSI's - $60,000

Submission deadline: April 10

Awards support individuals pursuing scholarly research that is of value to humanities scholars, students, and/or general audiences. The program welcomes proposals in all areas of the humanities, regardless of geographic or chronological focus. Must notify the UCSC Office of Sponsored Projects by March 27.

Read More

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Evidence for Action: Innovative Research to Advance Racial Equity 

Rolling Deadline, Variable Amounts

The WESTAF Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Artist Fund provides resources to and for BIPOC artists living in the 16 states and jurisdictions in the WESTAF region. The program emphasizes self-determination for BIPOC artists and their communities.

Read More

Tremaine Foundation

Curators on the CUSP -- Grant Opportunity for Art Curators

Submission deadline: May 1, $500-$10,000

Grant terms will be up to one year and no match is required. The grant can be used to leverage other grant opportunities. Additionally, up to 25% of request can include staff time and overhead. Projects, initiatives or opportunities anticipated to exceed $10,000 may be considered as a phased request that allows an institution or partner to seek additional funds.

Read More

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: May 10, 2024. Decisions will follow within two weeks.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

Join our events

All events at

Thursday, March 21

Dean Celine's Book Launch

Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery (UCSC)

Sunday, April 7

Third Coast Percussion

Recital Hall (UCSC)

Tuesday, April 9

ALOK (campus only, not a public event)

Recital Hall (UCSC)

Friday, April 12

Opening: "Seeing Through Stone"

Institute of the Arts and Sciences

Friday, April 12

Hindustani Music Concert

Recital Hall (UCSC)

Saturday, April 13

Molly Joyce Collaboration

Recital Hall (UCSC)

Saturday, April 13

Lives Dedicated to Music

Recital Hall (UCSC)

Thursday, April 18

Sesnon Salon: PPD

Theater Arts Mainstage (UCSC)


Friday, April 19

Joshua Rubin Concert

Recital Hall (UCSC)

Friday-Saturday, April 19-20

33rd Annual Pilipinx Cultural Celebration

Theater Arts Mainstage (UCSC)

April 25-May 4

DANM MFA Exhibition

Digital Arts Research Center

Friday, April 26

Visiting Artists from Minzu University

Recital Hall (UCSC)

Friday-Sunday, April 26-28

The Great Garrison

Theater Arts Second Stage (UCSC)

Saturday, April 27

Indian Student Association Cultural Show

Theater Arts Mainstage (UCSC)

Saturday, April 27

Indian Midsummer

Theater Arts eXperimental Theater (UCSC)

Facebook  Instagram
Was this forwarded to you? Join our mailing list.