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Art Strategy

The arts are deeply rooted in UC San Diego’s identity; our highly ranked arts departments and degree programs, as well as our affiliations with artistic partners, have a strong tradition of both aesthetic experimentation and public engagement that makes us a leader among peer institutions. 

The university is rich with opportunities to experience art, culture and entertainment in multiple formats and venues. The arrival of the light rail has made UC San Diego even more accessible to visitors from throughout the region and beyond. The ongoing development of new facilities and spaces for innovation, research and presentation - including the Epstein Family Amphitheater - will create further opportunities for new exhibitions and performances that reflect campus priorities and allow all to feel welcome. 

Part of the strategic vision for UC San Diego’s future is aimed at fully realizing the university’s potential to be a welcoming and inclusive destination for arts, culture, and lifelong education for both the campus and broader communities. 

Achieving this vision requires consistent communication of our values: despite the substantial campus presence and impact of our renowned programs in the arts, humanities, and social sciences, UC San Diego is still sometimes assumed to be focused primarily on science and engineering. In evolving the university to attract and educate a larger and more diverse group of learners, we must continue to elevate our arts programs and offerings as core elements of our campus identity. 

Planning for the transformation includes the development of guiding principles and an overarching strategy for the future of the arts at UC San Diego. To this end, several advisory groups have been charged with assessing the current state of the arts and art venues on campus; developing recommendations to engage the university community, general public, and potential donors; informing acquisition policies and processes, including art curation, commissioning, and installation; as well as operationalizing strategy implementation and guiding related marketing and communication efforts. 

The work of the advisory groups and other elements of campus transformation will rely on input from those with relevant experience: campus-based artists, performers, curators and producers; students, staff, faculty, and alumni with deep interest in the arts as a vehicle for education, exploration, reflection and inspiration; and key members of the broader San Diego community. 

History 

From the start, the arts at UC San Diego were forward looking. Rather than build arts departments around the study of art history, UCSD's founders had a unique vision for creating laboratories of the arts, led by leading practicing artists, and focusing on excellence through creation, experimentation, innovation, and research.  

Now almost 60 years later we have three highly ranked Arts Departments (Music, Theatre & Dance, and Visual Arts), the Interdisciplinary Computing in the Arts program,  and the MFA Program in Writing in the Department of Literature. These programs are world renowned not only for our unique approach, but for our highly accomplished faculty that has included MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellows, Pulitzer Prize, Grammy, Grawemeyer and Tony Award Winners, members of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the only artist in the history of the UC System to be named a University Professor by the Office of the President. And we have a remarkable group of similarly accomplished alumni making waves throughout the arts professions, and in academia including leadership positions at Harvard, Stanford, throughout the UC System, and elsewhere.  

Our academic programs are just the starting point for the arts at UC San Diego. We also have expertise in fusing art with technology within our research and teaching missions. At the Qualcomm Institute researchers are doing cutting-edge work that brings together artistic creation with the development of new technologies (spatial audio, computer graphics, augmented reality, telematic performance, etc.).  Similarly, the core academic program of Sixth College immerses students in studying the intersections between Culture, Art, and Technology 

UC San Diego also has a strong tradition of connecting the arts more broadly to the lives of our students and members of the wider San Diego community. There are over 40 student organizations focused on artdance, music or performance within the university.  We have one of the world's great and most innovative site-specific art collections: the Stuart Collection, founded over 40 years ago. Our innovative ArtPower series brings excellent music, dance, film, and spoken word performances to campus and partners with academic departments to connect the performers with students and classes. Two distinguished affiliated arts organizations have lived on campus for decades, partnering with academic departments to provide opportunities to students: the La Jolla Playhouse and the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus. 

New Developments

Since 2021, we have re-opened the Craft Center to the campus and public, welcomed a new piece (Same Old Paradise) to the Stuart Collection, inaugurated the Healing Arts Collection within UC San Diego Health, and opened the Jeannie, a 600-person auditorium, performance, and event space. 

During 2022, we anticipate 

  • Inaugural events within the new exhibit, performance, and cinema spaces in UC San Diego @ Park and Market 
  • Reopening a refurbished Mandeville Art Gallery augmented by an outdoor media mesh to give greater visibility along Ridge Walk. 
  • Founding the Israni Center for Cinematic Arts in the Division of Arts & Humanities. 
  • Opening the Epstein Family Amphitheater, a new venue for a wide variety of outdoor cultural events meeting the interests of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the general public. 
  • Launching a new campus arts website and calendar as a portal to arts resources, exhibits, and performances throughout UC San Diego. 

In the next few years, we are anticipating the advent of a larger glass studio within the Marshall College Living & Learning Neighborhood and a new Gallery Space within the student-, alumni-, and public-focused Triton Center. 

Looking to the future, we will continue building a strategy that includes working groups that bring campus and community leaders, students, arts department faculty, and our many arts organizations together regularly. We anticipate they will discuss our common aspirations for programming and facilities, how to collaborate more easily and intentionally, and how to make the arts more accessible to students, employees and the surrounding community.  

Above all, we believe that our distinguished history of excellence and innovation in the arts is a prelude to an exciting future. What we do together in a spirit of collective impact will take our work to a whole new level of breadth, depth, and accessibility.   

A recent UC San Diego Foundation Board of Trustees meeting focused on art strategy as an exciting element of the university’s future. The content of the meeting is captured in the videos below.

 

Interim Advisor to the EVC on Art Strategy and Engagement

Rand Steiger was appointed as the Interim Advisor to the EVC on Art Strategy and Engagement in November 2021. Professor Steiger has had a distinguished career as a composer of innovative orchestral, chamber and installation works. He is a Distinguished Professor, and holder of the Conrad Prebys Presidential Chair in the Music Department at UC San Diego, and was a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow.

Steiger can be reached with questions on the Arts Strategy initiative via email.

Art Strategy Advisory Group

The Art Strategy Advisory Group (ASAG) has been convened to assess the state of the arts on the UC San Diego campus, compare our campus' efforts to initiatives at peer institutions, and develop a strategy for engaging the campus community in a broad and inclusive dialogue around the arts. 

Evolution of the Art Strategy Advisory Group

To achieve excellence and distinction as an arts destination, we need to build a coordination framework that will cultivate collective impact by fostering communication and collaboration among all of our arts stakeholders, including creators, researchers, students, community members, and those who manage and curate exhibition and performance spaces. 

Over the last two years, an initial Art Strategy Advisory Group was formed to address immediate needs and nucleate a culture in which art strategy can be discussed in a professional, collegial, collaborative manner for the benefit of the whole university. That group established two implementation committees:   

  • The Campus Art Assessment Advisory Committee (CAAAC) that receives proposals for acquisition or donation of public art, vets them according to an established rubric, and brings structured recommendations to university leadership. 
  • The Arts Communications Advisory Committee (ACAC) that is working with University Communications to create unified means for all art performances and exhibitions on campus to be advertised to the entire university and community.  

We are now planning to open several new or renovated arts facilities on campus – and making appointments to provide additional leadership in the arts: the Interim Art Strategy Advisor, the next Director of the Stuart Collection, the Director of the Craft Center, an Executive Director for Campus Events and Performance, an events and performances manager for Park & Market, and a director for the Mandeville Art Gallery. 

Therefore, this is a logical time to evolve the Campus Art Strategy Group in a way that accounts for the advent of these new facilities and colleagues – and that enhances its focus on connecting the arts to our students, employees, and the wider San Diego community. Four complementary steps in this direction will be: 

  • Updating the membership of the Art Strategy Advisory Group to include a greater focus on students and community and to also differentiate between ex officio and rotating members.     
  • Establish mechanisms for regular communication of the ASAG with the leaders of all arts units and with the leaders of all academic units across the university to promote awareness and partnership. 
  • Establish a Campus Art Programming Collaboration (CAPC) discussion group that convenes individuals responsible for arts programming to foster collaboration around future exhibits and performances.  
  • Ensure overlap between the membership of the Campus Art Strategy Group and the membership and leadership of the implementation groups (CAAAC, CACC, CAPC) to keep the work of the groups aligned. 

 

Group Members

University Leadership

  • Elizabeth Simmons, Chair
  • Suzi Sterner, Chancellor's Designee
  • Alison Sanders, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs and Chief of Staff

Students, EDI, and Community

  • Alysson Satterlund, VCSA Designee
  • EDI Designee
  • Ann Spira, Advancement Designee
  • Community Designee
  • Student Representative

Technical Expertise

  • Rand Steiger, Interim Advisor to the EVC on Art Strategy and Engagement & Professor, Music
  • Joel King, Campus Architect
  • Mary Walshok, Arts Programming Designee #1
  • Arts Programming Designee #2

Academic Leadership 

  • Cristina Della Coletta, Dean, Arts and Humanities
  • Ricardo Dominguez, Chair, Visual Arts
  • Lakshmi Chilukuri, Provost, Sixth College

Campus Art Assessment Advisory Committee

Charged as an official advisory committee in November 2020, the Campus Art Assessment Advisory Committee (CAAAC) plays a key role in ensuring that new campus art installations create opportunities for diverse artistic expressions that reflect campus priorities and allow all to feel included in the campus ethos. The committee will draft foundational principles and policies related to the acceptance, assessment, and ongoing logistical support of gifts of art or commissions.

The committee will also review, with assistance of consultants as needed, proposed gifts of art and future commissions and provide summary documents and recommendations to leadership. UC San Diego Foundation staff will provide consultation, appraisals, and appropriate review to support the Committee’s evaluation when donor gifts of art are involved.

Campus policy matters arising in discussion are to be directed to the Interim Advisor to the EVC for Art Strategy and Engagement and the Art Strategy Advisory Group, who would make recommendations to the EVC and Chancellor. 

Membership Framework

Membership of the Campus Art Assessment Advisory Committee will include the following: 

  • Campus Architect (Chair) 
  • Chancellor's designee 
  • Interim Advisor to the EVC for Art Strategy and Engagement (serves as Chair if the role of Campus Architect is vacant) 
  • Two faculty members (through the Academic Senate Committee on Committees), each for a non-renewable 2-year term 
  • Chair of the Visual Arts Department 
  • Advancement representative 
  • EDI representative 
  • 2-3 other representatives from non-academic units connected with the visual arts, such as the University Library or the Stuart Collection
  • UC San Diego Foundation representative (as a consultant)

Current Membership for 2021-22

  • Co-Chair, Monique Van Genderen, Visual Arts 
  • Co-Chair, Joel King, Campus Architect 
  • Gerardo Arellano, Director Raza Resource Centro 
  • Lynda Claassen, Director, Special Collections & Archives 
  • Ricardo Dominguez, Chair & Professor, Visual Arts 
    Mathieu Gregoire, Lecturer, Visual Arts 
  • Walter Kanzler, Senior Director of Design Services 
  • Russ King, Special Project Advisor, Office of the Chancellor
  • Todd Pitman, Campus Landscape Architect 
  • Marlene Shaver, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Advancement Services (Consultant) 
  • Ann Spira, Vice Chancellor, Advancement
  • Paul Sepuya, Acting Associate Professor, Visual Arts 
  • Rand Steiger, Interim Advisor to the EVC for Art Strategy & Engagement & Professor, Music 

Arts Communications Advisory Committee

The arts are deeply embedded in UC San Diego's identity and our campus is rich with opportunities to experience the arts in multiple formats and venues.  In order to more fully realize the university’s goal of serving as a destination for art, culture, and entertainment, UC San Diego needs to develop more unified and accessible ways of communicating about the many exhibits and performances available to members of the campus and community. 

The Arts Communication Advisory Committee (ACAC) is charged with the following: 

  • Creating and documenting a comprehensive inventory of visual and performing arts resources and stakeholders across campus, including student activity, academic programs, and affiliated organizations.
  • Establishing a website (arts.ucsd.edu) to represent this comprehensive inventory ensuring stakeholder representation in the process. 
  • Developing a proposal for a comprehensive, coordinated communication plan for the arts at UC San Diego. 

Committee Membership

  • Chair: Rand Steiger, Interim Advisor to the EVC on Art Strategy and Engagement, Professor, Music

  • Stephen Buescher, Senior Lecturer, Teaching Professor, Acting Faculty, Theatre and Dance
  • Anthony Burr, Chair & Professor, Music
  • Kimberly Lamke Calderón, EVC Strategic Communications Manager, Academic Affairs 
  • Rhianen Callahan, Arts & Humanities Senator, Associated Students
  • Ricardo Dominguez, Chair & Professor, Visual Arts
  • Matt Hale, Executive Director, University Communications
  • Anthony King, Director of Communications, School of of Arts and Humanities  
  • Russ King, Special Project Advisor, Office of the Chancellor  
  • Wendy Liu, Associate Professor, Rady School of Management  
  • Susan Narucki, Director of Arts and Community Engagement, Distinguished Professor, Music  
  • [Incumbent], President, Graduate and Professional Student Association  
  • Laura Schwartz, Subject Specialist for Visual Arts, Library 
  • Anna Joy Springer, Associate Professor, Literature 
  • Emily Trask, Executive Director, Center for Student Involvement 
  • Pinar Yoldas, Associate Professor, Visual Arts  

Amphitheater Inaugural Season Taskforce

This body, a taskforce of the Campus Art Strategy Group, is co-chaired by Patricia Mahaffey, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Student Life and Russell King, Special Projects Advisor, Chancellor’s Office. The service period of this committee willl span from October 2021 to December 2022.

The full scope of the committee includes identifying and recommending programs and events for the inaugural first year of the amphitheater, including the opening events. Additionally, this committee will make recommendations regarding program series development, student programs and academic department programs; identify amphitheater specific programs; identify non-profit partners; and provide
informed perspective to the Epstein Family Amphitheater full-time employees as they transition into their roles.

Taskforce Members
  • Co-Chair: Russ King, Special Projects Advisor, Office of the Chancellor
  • Co-Chair: Patricia Mahaffey, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Student Life
  • Manu Agni, Associated Students President
  • Gerardo Arellano, Director, Raza Resource Center
  • April Bjornsen, Assistant Dean, Graduate Student Affairs
  • Drew Calandrella, Executive Advisor, Department of Theatre and Dance
  • Porsia Curry, Campus Diversity Officer and Director, Black Resource Center
  • Cristina Della Coletta, Dean, School of Arts and Humanities
  • Ricardo Dominguez, Chair and Professor, Visual Arts
  • Jack Feivou
  • Matt Hale, Executive Director, University Communications
  • Josh Kavanagh, Executive Director, Triton Auxiliary Programs & Services
  • Jason Kayne, Director, Facilities Management & Fleet Services
  • Richard Kilwien, Senior Associate Athletic Director
  • Neil Kutner, Consultant, Keene Consulting
  • Graduate Student Association Representative
  • John McCartney, Professor and Chair, Structural Engineering
  • Greg Murphy, Chief of Police
  • Susan Narucki, Professor, Music
  • Carolina Parra Solorio, Festivals Director, Sixth College
  • Jordan Peimer, Executive Director, ArtPower
  • Lisa Porter, Professor, Theatre & Dance
  • Jeff Roeser, Senior Electronics/AV Project Manager
  • Steve Schick, Professor, Music
  • Steven Shuster, Senior AVP of Student Organizations
  • Frank Silva, Chief of Staff, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
  • Ann Spira, Vice Chancellor, Advancement
  • Rand Steiger, Interim Advisor to the EVC for Art Strategy and Engagment & Professor, Music
  • Jill Townsend, Executive Director, Special Events & Protocol
  • Anthony Tran, Associated Students Events Coordinator
  • Sharon Van Bruggen, Executive Director, University Centers
  • Jennie Van Meter, Director, Alumni Engagement
  • Amber Vlasnik, Dean of Student Affairs, Thurgood Marshall College
  • Adam Weaver, Assistant Director, Programs and Event Services, University Centers
  • Paul Yu, Provost, Revelle College