Arts Division Newsletter

Students, staff, and faculty join a drumming lesson at the Sesnon Salon on March 16.

(photo by Maureen Dixon Harrison)

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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May 22, 2024

Dear Arts Community,


We close this academic year with a great sense of grief. On a global level, we must acknowledge how our communities are being impacted by the ongoing catastrophic violence in the Middle East. As college campuses across the nation, including ours, serve as hubs for activism and political engagement, our collective hope is for peace. Through this time, I know that each of us strives to live by UCSC’s Principles of Community, honoring mutual respect as we advocate for justice. I thank all of you, our faculty, staff, students, alumni, donors and friends, for your ongoing support of our mission, our vision of excellence and equality, and the power of the arts to enrich our lives and elevate our consciousness as we send the next generation of Banana Slugs out to the world! 


On May 5, we held our second annual Art Immersion Experience gathering, this year at the beautiful Hillsborough estate of Arts Advocacy Council member, Jenny Shimizu Risk, who generously hosted us for a very special UCSC Arts Division experience that focused on our students and faculty and with the incredible support and energetic creativity of the staff. A by-invitation-only event for arts supporters and community members in the Silicon Valley area, our current and next generation of artists “wowed” them with wonderful performances from the Music Department and Opera program, as well as outstanding presentations from Film and Digital Media, Performance, Play and Design, and beautiful prints from several Art students. We had an enormous outpouring of inspiring feedback, including some saying it was the best event of its kind they’d ever been to. This annual event raises awareness and develops foundations for support now and well into the future. Enormous thanks to Ginny Hargrave, our senior director of development, for all her incredibly hard work to make this event such a success!


Please join us for the closing events of the year: PPD’s Somewhere: A Primer for the End of Days has final performances this weekend, and opening on May 30 and running through June 2, is the UCSC Opera’s production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s delightful comedy Iolanthe and on May 31 Grupo Folkleorico Los Mejicas performs. Jubilee! We are celebrating our very popular annual Print Sale which marks its 50th anniversary this year on June 7-8, along with the Art Department’s Open Studios. And the SocDoc thesis screening returns to the Del Mar Theatre on June 12. For all of the events and more details please see our events below and go to the Arts Division website at

Happiest congratulations to our 2024 graduates and retirees! It is wonderful to witness this life transition for the next generation of Banana Slugs! When you walk into rooms, people will recognize all that you carry: the power and voice you garnered here. Remember to stay connected with us to help open doors for those behind you. I wish you all a joyful and rejuvenating summer. Please look for our next Arts Dean’s newsletter in the Fall.


Fiat Slug,

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People in the Arts

Featured Undergraduate Student

Ariel Barish


Senior art student Ariel Barish has already explored her craft around the world. Along with studying at Idyllwild Art Academy, an international art boarding school near Riverside, Barish went to Korea in 2022 and Japan in 2023 to study printmaking. Growing up in Southern California, where her dad works as a physics professor at UC Riverside, Barish was often encouraged to pursue STEM. However, she always preferred reading and drawing.

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Featured Graduate Student

Maggie Wander

Visual Studies Ph.D. Candidate

History of Art and Visual Culture (HAVC)

Maggie Wander has been offered a tenure-track position as Assistant Professor of Art History at Santa Clara University. Maggie will graduate from the Visual Studies Ph.D. program in UCSC's department of History of Art and Visual Culture (HAVC) this summer and will begin her new position in September. Maggie's research and teaching focuses on the contemporary and historical arts of Oceania (the Pacific Islands, Australia, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea) and she will continue to serve as co-executive editor of the journal Pacific Arts with Stacy Kamehiro, associate professor in HAVC.

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Featured Faculty

Martin Rizzo-Martinez

Assistant Professor, Film and Digital Media

Rizzo-Martinez is looking forward to the publication of the paperback edition of his book, We are not Animals (University of Nebraska Press, 2022). “It's basically a history of indigenous peoples of Santa Cruz, and it traces back from before the arrival of the Spanish missions,” he says. “It follows how the indigenous peoples navigate and find ways to survive through consecutive colonial eras: the missionary era, and then the Spanish or the Mexican National Era, and into the American era.”

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Featured Staff

Michael Lindsey

Graduate Programs Coordinator,

Film & Digital Media

One of the many impressive things about Michael Lindsey, the graduate programs coordinator in Film and Digital Media (FDM), is that he can speak six languages including English, Hindi, Urdu, Tamil, Farsi, and Pashto. Lindsey began his life at UC Santa Cruz as a Ph.D. student in the Music Department.

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Featured Alumna

Claire June Apana

Art, 2022

Inspired by the work of M.C. Escher and drawing on her heritage as a mixed person of Hawaiian descent, Claire June Apana started making giant origami structures. IMPRESSIONS is an “American scale” installation that was shown at University of California, Santa Cruz’s Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery just before Apana’s graduation from the university in 2022. She has since created similar work that has been exhibited elsewhere such as the Weldon Color Lab in Los Angeles.

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In Memoriam

Professor Emeritus of Music

Larry Polansky

Composer and theorist, Larry Polansky, professor emeritus of music, passed away on May 9, 2024 at age 69. Following a successful career in the music industry, Polansky (UCSC ‘77, math and music) returned to the UC Santa Cruz campus in 2013 to join the Music Department faculty. He retired in 2019, but his years here left a lasting impact on his colleagues, students, and campus as a whole.

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Arts in the News

Distinguished Professor Sir Isaac Julien’s SFMOMA Installation Featured in SF Chronicle

On the heels of Julien’s major survey exhibition at the Tate Modern in London last year, “What Freedom Means to Me,” and its current presentation at Bonnefanten Museum in Maastricht, Netherlands, Julien is an exciting get. Given his noted abilities to immerse audiences with his multiscreen works, he’s also an interesting choice for Art Bash, where the atmosphere is intended to go beyond decor and become its own distinct work of art. – Tony Bravo, San Francisco Chronicle Datebook. Professor Julien will also have an exhibition at San Francisco’s de Young Museum opening in spring 2025. And Julien’s Lessons of the Hour (2019) recently opened at MoMA and runs through September 28, 2024.

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Exhibition the Santa Cruz MAH Features Work by UCSC Art Department Faculty and Alumni, May 23-Sept. 29, 2024

Curated by History of Consciousness Ph.D. Gabriel Saloman Mindel, Of Love and Revelation: Learning From the Land is an exhibition of contemporary photographic experiments that explores our entanglements with landscape, the power of arts pedagogy, and the trouble of settler colonialism. Alongside photographs by Ansel Adams and Binh Danh, the exhibition also includes work by Professor Emeritus Norman Locks, Associate Professor Karolina Karlic, former Sesnon Gallery curator Shelby Graham, and Edgar Cruz (BFA '20). (image: Norman Locks, Floating Pole, 20230

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Santa Cruz’s First Queer Film Festival on UCSC Campus June 7th

Jay Shepherd, 3rd year Film and Digital Media (FDM) major is part of a committee that's planning Santa Cruz's first Queer Film Festival, which will be held on UCSC's campus on June 7th. The Santa Cruz Queer Film Festival will give Santa Cruz amateur queer filmmakers a chance to find community, show off their work, and bring representation into their media. The festival is accepting short film submissions until May 24th.

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Alumna Diana Eicher Has Solo Show at boréal Art Loft, St. Paul

Diana Eicher, who graduated from UCSC with a degree in Art in 1988, has a solo show entitled Time Travels: An Exhibition of Artwork from Across the Years through May 28 at boréal Art Loft in St. Paul, MN. She’s been Director of the Printmaking and Paper Studios at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design since 2003.

Arts Division Students, Yasmine Benabdallah, Jorge Palacios & Robbie Trocchia, Awarded The Humanities Institute Coha-Gunderson Prize in Speculative Futures

Three Arts Division students were recently awarded The Humanities Institute Coha-Gunderson Prize in Speculative Futures. This award includes a $1,000 prize generously made possible by UC Santa Cruz alumni James Gunderson and Peter Coha (pictured). The Coha-Gunderson Prize in Speculative Futures, is an annual competition made possible by UCSC alumni Peter Coha (Kresge ’78, Mathematics) and James Gunderson (Rachel Carson ’77, Philosophy, and UCSC Foundation Board Trustee). Previous prizewinning submissions have ranged from poetry to film to interactive science projects and a virtual reality experience.

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HAVC Gathers for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Retreat

This spring, the History of Art and Visual Culture department gathered for a full day retreat to discuss Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion within our curriculum and teaching. With generous funding support from the Arts Dean, HAVC faculty and staff worked collaboratively to address achievement gaps in the undergraduate curriculum, recruitment and retention, the first year experience, Program Learning Outcome design and assessments, professional development, and graduate advising and mentoring. Presentations and workshops were facilitated by Robin Dunkin and Noori Chai from the Teaching and Learning Center, Associate Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Suzanne Alonzo, and Anna Sher from the Assessment for Learning Excellence and Equity Center. The day was a great opportunity to explore pedagogical and professional pathways to address DEI and student success within the department, and was a joyful time to connect and think creatively together.

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micha cárdenas Has New Chapter in Her Book Ecogames

micha cárdenas, an associate professor in Performance, Play and Design and Critical Race and Ethic Studies, recently announced a new chapter to her book Ecogames Playful Perspectives on the Climate Crisis. The book brings together chapters by a diverse group of established and emerging authors to develop a growing body of scholarship that explores the shape, impact, and cultural context of ecogames. The book comprises four thematic sections, Today’s Challenges: Games for Change, Future Worlds: New Imaginaries, The Nonhuman Turn, and Critical Metagaming Practices.

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Livia Perez’s Film Awarded Best Documentary at 39th Lovers Film Festival, Italy

Digital Arts and New Media (DANM) alumna and lecturer at Film and Digital Media (FDM) Livia Perez’s film, M is for Mothers (2023), was awarded Best Documentary at the 39th Lovers Film Festival in Turin, Italy. M is for Mothers is a touching and intimate portrait of queer motherhood. According to the jury Livia’s feature documentary deserved the award for its ability to start from the everyday context of a journey toward parenthood to explore more profound and more multifaceted issues; for its delicate yet visceral mise-en-scène; for its strength in affirming the female gaze and experience in the contemporary scenario both politically and cinematically.

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James Gordon Williams in Performance Inspired by Artist Richard Mayhew

In a May 5th Santa Cruz Museum of Art History (MAH) program called Spatial Illusions as Radical Mindscapes: A Conversation About the Work of Richard Mayhew, composer-pianist James Gordon Williams, assistant professor of composition at UCSC, performed an improvisation inspired by Mayhew’s landscape paintings rooted in Mayhew's concept of creative sensibility. Mayhew, who recently turned 100 years old on April 3rd, was present at the event and gave a short speech on how the relationship between optics and sound shapes his paintings. Artists Nashormeh N.R. Lindo and Kajahl led the panel on Mayhew’s work. Williams states “I was thrilled to honor Mr. Mayhew with my sonic canvas.”

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Art, Activism & Equity Presentation with Elizabeth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle at SF Main Library, June 1

Professor of Art, Beth Stephens and her partner Annie Sprinkle will talk about how San Francisco’s BIPOC, Queer artists, activists and their allies, changed the narrative from exclusion to empowerment. This local arts history tells the untold stories of how some underdog outsider visionaries transformed the climate for arts funding during the 1960s through to the 1990s. Hosted by grant writing legend, Jeff Jones, with artist archivists, Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle, there will be a slide show, discussion and a panel of artists whose archives are part of this important, fun and fascinating evolution.

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Balakrishnan Raghavan and Alex Wand Released Their Debut Single

On Spring Equinox this year (March 20th) Balakrishnan Raghavan, 3rd year, PhD, Music Department and Alex Wand, 5th year, DMA, Music Department, released their debut single, Tanjore Lullaby. This piece is a musical improvisation for voice and resonator guitar, based on a traditional lullaby from Tanjore, a city in India close to where Bala's grandmother is from. The track was recorded in one uninterrupted take during the summer of 2023. The track draws inspiration from a 100-year-old lullaby field recording on the cylinder, a 200-year-old Telugu composition, and Alex and Bala's musical soundscapes and life worlds in Santa Cruz.

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Karolina Karlic’s Research Initiative Launches Language Has No Weather: Field Notes from Unseen California

Art Professor Karolina Karlic’s research initiative, Unseen California, is launching Language Has No Weather: Field Notes from Unseen California, a collaborative artist book published by theretherenow. Language Has No Weather: Field Notes from Unseen California is a limited-edition artists’ book featuring works by five women artists—Mercedes Dorame, Karolina Karlic, Tarrah Krajnak, Dionne Lee, and Aspen Mays—the inaugural research cohort of Unseen California (2021–23). The book features the artists’ explorations in progress—their field notes—across media, generated from site work and ongoing dialogues.

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Daniel Munoz Performing with Diva Destruction in World’s Largest Goth Rock Festival

Daniel Munoz, lecturer in music, is a guitarist in the bands Guilty Strangers, Crow Jane, and Diva Destruction, and bassist for 45 Grave and Lucas Lanthier and Several of His Esteemed Colleagues, and he continues to have a busy performance schedule. Diva Destruction is set to play the largest goth rock festival in the world, Wave Gotik Treffen, in Leipzig, Germany. Munoz teaches Music Scenes and Subcultures, and Music, Politics, and Protest in the UCSC Music Department.

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Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) 2024 Creative Latin Internship in Los Angeles

The Creative Latin department is seeking energetic, dedicated and creative current college or university students to join their team as paid Interns this summer. The candidate will support the creative Latin team with market research, development, and maintenance of music playlist, in addition to day-to-day activities of the creative team. The intern will be tasked with doing market research (social media analytics, Billboard charts, streaming analytics) and help develop a list of emerging songwriters for our creative team.

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MAP Fund, Theatre Communications Group

Deadline: May 27

Over three decades, the program has distributed 1,400+ grants to thousands of performing artists who have offered extraordinary ideas, not simply to position themselves within a creative marketplace, but for reasons of participating in their communities’ vitality, across the United States and its territories. MAP grantees are at the forefront of re-imagining inherited models of artistic production, cultural paradigms, and related economic practices.

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Spencer Foundation Racial Equity Grants

Deadline: May 29

The Racial Equity Research Grants program supports education research projects that will contribute to understanding and ameliorating racial inequality in education. They are interested in funding studies that aim to understand and disrupt the reproduction and deepening of inequality in education, and which seek to (re)imagine and make new forms of equitable education.



Deadline: May 30

PLAYA’s residencies are open to the global community of scientists and artists whose work promotes dialogue and positive change in the environment and the world. We encourage naturalists, biologists, musicians, designers, sustainability leaders, social practitioners, musicians, visual artists, writers, and performing artists to apply. PLAYA welcomes applications from both emerging and seasoned professionals.

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Imagining America, (PAGE) Fellowship

Deadline: May 31

PAGE Fellows participate in a yearlong working group in support of collaborative art-making, teaching, writing, storytelling, and co-creating knowledge with and within community. We are artists, scientists, researchers, instigators, cultural leaders, care workers, and community activists. We are what Toni Cade Bambara called “culture workers,” people who are accountable to themselves, the land and water, the communities our work touches, and to creatively use our ability to freedom dream and do otherwise possibilities within and outside of our work.

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California Arts Council (multiple opportunities)

Deadline: June 6

At the California Arts Council, it's our mission to strengthen arts, culture, and creative expression as the tools to cultivate a better California for all. We support local arts infrastructure and activities statewide through grants, programs, and services.

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Big Bad Con Scholarship

Deadline: June 15, 2024

Big Bad Con is committed to cultivating and supporting a spectacular and diverse gaming community. Part of the way they do that is by collecting donations to their scholarship program. Their scholarship funds go towards helping women and people from marginalized genders, people of color, disabled, and LGBTQIA+ individuals attend the con. They use it to cover hotel rooms, convention badges, and help with other fees. Depending on the number of applicants, they may be able cover full or partial costs.

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The Robert Giard Grant for Emerging LGBTQ+ Photographers

Deadline: June 30, 2024

Queer|Art’s first international grant provides an award of $10,000 for the winner and $1,250 for distinguished finalists, to support the creation of new work by emerging LGBTQ+ photographers. Named in honor of photographer Robert Giard (1939-2002), a portrait, landscape, and figure photographer whose work focused on LGBTQ+ lives and issues, the grant focuses on supporting emerging LGBTQ+ photographers whose projects address issues of sexuality, gender, or LGBTQ+ identity.

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The Illuminations Grant for Black Trans Women Visual Artists

Deadline: June 30, 2024

The Illuminations Grant for Black Trans Women Visual Artists, a $10,000 grant, supports visual artists who are self-identified Black trans women. This new grant is made possible entirely through support provided by visual artist Mariette Pathy Allen with key consultancy by Aaryn Lang.

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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 inter-disciplinary 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

May 17-26

"Somewhere: A Primer for the End of Days"

Theater Arts Mainstage (UCSC)

May 29

Irwin Scholarship Exhibition

Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery (UCSC)

May 30-June 2

Gilbert & Sullivan's operetta "Iolanthe"

Recital Hall (UCSC)

May 31 & June 1

Grupo Folklórico Los Mejicas

Theater Arts Mainstage (UCSC)

June 4

Chamber Music Concert

Recital Hall (UCSC)

June 7

Art Department Open Studios

Baskin Visual Arts Center (UCSC)

June 7

First Friday at IAS

Institute of the Arts & Sciences (Westside)

June 7

UCSC Concert Choir

Recital Hall (UCSC)

June 7 & 8

50th Annual Print Sale

Baskin Visual Arts Center (UCSC)

June 8

UCSC Jazz Ensembles

Recital Hall (UCSC)

June 12

Social Documentary Thesis Screening

Del Mar Theatre (Santa Cruz)

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