Arts Division

Porter College, D Building,
(831) 459-4940

The Arts Division offers both creative and critical studies of art and culture at the undergraduate and graduate level. The division is committed to creating a safe, inclusive, and welcoming environment for all students to thrive and to celebrate the abundance of diversity in our community. We build our students' capacity for creative and critical thinking. Instruction in the arts inspires and develops the skills needed for individual and collaborative creative thought, analysis, and action within and beyond the university. Our faculty consists of artists, performers, historians, critics, makers, and theorists working across the arts in a global context, and addressing some of the most pressing issues of our day.

Undergraduate education in the arts includes bachelor of arts (B.A.) programs in art, art and design: games and playable media, film and digital media, history of art and visual culture, music, and theater arts, and a bachelor of music (B.M.). There are also concentrations offered in film and digital media (critical studies and integrated critical practice), history of art and visual culture (curation, heritage, and museums), and music (contemporary practices, western art music; and global musics). Minors are offered in film and digital media; history of art and visual culture; electronic music; jazz, spontaneous composition, and improvisation; music; theater arts; and dance.

Graduate programs include the environmental art and social practice master of fine arts (M.F.A.), interdisciplinary digital arts and new media master of fine arts (M.F.A.), the social documentation master of fine arts (M.F.A.), the music master of arts (M.A.), and the theater arts master of arts (M.A.). Doctoral programs include the music composition doctor of musical arts (D.M.A.), and Ph.D. programs in music, visual studies, and film and digital media.

The Arts Division provides students with access to exemplary research, work and maker spaces, including a digital-arts research facility with two experimental media labs, along with a state-of-the-art music recital hall, practice rooms, electronic music studios, and recording facilities, four theaters for dramatic productions, filmmaking studios and editing suites, surround-sound screening theaters, drama and dance studios, painting and printmaking studios, a foundry (unique to the U.C. system), photography and computer laboratories, and specialized lecture and seminar classrooms. McHenry Library houses an extensive collection of books and periodicals on the arts, as well as an analog and digital slide collection, music scores and recordings, and one of the largest collections of films and DVDs in the University of California system. Exhibition space in the arts includes galleries for students, faculty, and visiting artists to show their work. The Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery presents curated exhibitions to the university community and the general public. The Institute of the Arts and Sciences, a focus for interdisciplinary creative work, exhibitions, conferences, symposia, and seminars offers a robust schedule of programming, including the 2020-21 Visualizing Abolition.

Other Division Highlights: The Department of Performance, Play & Design offers a wide variety of performances in four venues, ranging from faculty-directed productions of classics and musicals on our Mainstage to intimate student-created productions in our century-old converted barn. Student work is regularly broadcast on SCTV, and Eyecandy, a student-run magazine and blog, publishes student critique on film, television, and digital media. The Music Department hosts an annual festival of contemporary music, April in Santa Cruz, and an opera in the spring quarter of each year, and presents a variety of solo and ensemble concert programs throughout the year. The History of Art and Visual Culture Department hosts a series of speakers and seminars each year on rotating topics that are supported by the Patricia and Rowland Rebele Endowed Chair and sponsors the student-run journal Refract. The Art Department sponsors regularly scheduled public presentations as well as quarterly open studios and a print and photo sale in the spring. The Digital Arts and New Media M.F.A. program regularly sponsors digital arts events, such as festivals, symposia, visiting speakers, and exhibitions of student work, both on- and off-campus, culminating in an annual exhibition of graduate thesis research each spring. The Arts Division supports the dissemination of student work through the Arts Dean's Fund for Excellence and Equity and provides professional development and internship opportunities through Arts Professional Pathways and departmental internship programs.

For more information about specific programs in the arts, please visit catalog listings and web sites for: Art; Digital Arts and New Media; Art + Design: Games + Playable Media; Film and Digital Media; History of Art and Visual Culture; Music; and Theater Arts.