Elena Baskin Visual Arts Studios
Room E-104
(831) 459-2272

Programs Offered

Art B.A.

Environmental Art and Social Practice M.F.A.

Undergraduate Program

The Art Department offers an integrated program of study in theory and practice exploring the power of visual communication for personal expression and public interaction. The department provides students with the means to pursue this exploration through courses that provide the practical hands-on learning skills for art production in a variety of media within the contexts of critical thinking and broad-based social perspectives.

The art program at UC Santa Cruz is composed of courses in drawing, animation, painting, photography, sculpture, print media, intermedia, critical theory, electronic art, public art, environmental art, social art practice, and interactive technologies. Baskin visual arts studios provide world-class facilities for art production in these areas. The Art Department is committed to pursuing a continuing dialogue about what constitutes basic preparation in the arts while offering students experience in established practices, new genres, and new technologies.

Students graduating with a major in art may become professional artists or pursue careers in such diverse areas as arts administration, arts management, museum education, art direction, communication design, web design, digital imaging, curating, art education, multi-media specialist, industry consultant, model maker, and publishing. Many students who want to teach at the college level continue their education in graduate school.

Graduate Program

The Environmental Arts and Social Practice M.F.A. integrates ecological thinking with social justice principles in a two-year degree program focusing on creative artistic inquiry and project-based research. Designed for students who seek to develop their artwork in relation to social and environmental justice questions, contexts, and communities, our place-based program emphasizes making and locating art in the world, with human and non-human collaborators, and grounded in individual and collective commitments, inventions, and aesthetic visions.

The program invites students to experiment with a breadth of approaches, art mediums, research methods, theoretical frameworks and technologies ranging from the traditional to the most contemporary, with the understanding that all media can be relevant in developing new approaches and responses to environmental and social issues. The program’s interdisciplinary emphasis also encourages students to engage with other departments, divisions, centers, labs, and faculty across the university to deepen and enrich their research, and to partner with groups and organizations outside the university in the development and realization of their projects. 

Students gain practical experience through direct engagement with places and communities and hone their skills of critical analysis, while studying methods, histories and theories of the field, and developing their own creative directions through their thesis projects. Students build career paths connecting multimedia art practices with environmental justice, social justice, public policy, public art, curatorial practices, art education, art writing, urban planning, landscape architecture, and other professional and creative practices.

Courses for Non-majors

The Art Department offers courses for non-art majors that fulfill general education requirements and offer students a chance to explore art to see if it interests them as a major.

These courses include ART 10D, 2D Foundation; ART 10E, 3D Foundation; ART 10F, 4D Foundation; ART 80D, Fundamentals of Photography; ART 80E, Environmental Art in the Expanded Field (online course); ART 80F, Introduction to Issues in Digital Media; ART 80T, Digital Tools for Contemporary Artists; ART 101, Introduction to Computer Programming for the Arts; ART 20L, Introduction to Drawing (online course); and ART 106O, 2D Animation (online course).