Bringing renowned artists to UC Davis classrooms

The Department of Art and Art History has solidified its place as a premier hub for artistic innovation and studio art education through the Manetti Shrem California Studio.

The initiative is believed to be the most extensive artist residency program of its kind in the United States and is supported by a $750,000 gift from Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem.

The Manetti Shrem California Studio has hosted a slate of internationally renowned artists in residencies since the program’s launch in fall 2021. Visiting artists give a public lecture and engage with students through classes, practicums and studio visits.

Spotlight artists in residence spend up to 10 days on campus working intensively with undergraduate and graduate students in hands-on seminars. The artists featured since fall 2021 include Raúl de Nieves, Jennifer Packer, Ann Hamilton, Michael Mercil and Xu Bing. Cecilia Alemani, curator of the High Line in New York City and 2022 Venice Biennial, will be the winter 2023 spotlight artist in residence.

Teaching artists in residence are on campus for a full 10-week quarter. They lead an undergraduate studio course and a graduate seminar and are active members of the UC Davis arts community. Artists Tamar Ettun, Beatriz Cortez and Jessica Segall have served in the role.

“Some of the most extraordinary and important living artists in the world have agreed to come and inspire students just starting their careers,” said Annabeth Rosen, Robert Arneson Professor of Art and department co-chair. “UC Davis will open up … groundbreaking conversations and extensive public programming with artists from around the world.”

Since 1958, the Department of Art and Art History has trained individuals that inspire communities and culture. UC Davis has been home to faculty members Wayne Thiebaud, Robert Arneson, William Wiley, Roy De Forest, Ruth Horsting and Manuel Neri, to name but a few. Today, the Master of Fine Arts program is ranked 15th among “America’s Best Graduate Schools” by U.S. News & World Report.

“Thanks to the generosity of Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem, our Department of Art and Art History is now home to one of the largest and most dynamic artist residency programs at a Research 1 university, which will provide an unparalleled experience for our students to learn from the best artists in the country,” said Estella Atekwana, dean of the College of Letters and Science.

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