Maria Manetti Shrem and Jan Shrem.
Maria Manetti Shrem and Jan Shrem.

Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Establish Premier Artist-in-Residence Program at UC Davis

The UC Davis College of Letters and Science's Department of Art and Art History is growing, thanks to a generous $750,000 gift from Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem to formally establish The California Studio: Manetti Shrem Artist Residencies. The exciting new program will bring preeminent visiting art scholars and innovative artists to campus from around the world over the next three years.

The artist-in-residence program will select artists through a highly competitive application process. Each year, two talented Manetti Shrem Artists will join UC Davis as visiting faculty for one academic quarter to teach undergraduate studio classes and graduate seminars, and deliver a public lecture. The artists will live in Davis and be offered a private studio to create works in their dedicated medium. The gift also creates a program manager/curator position to oversee the program.

In addition, four high-profile Spotlight Artists will be invited to visit each year for up to 10 days to conduct seminars accessible to both undergraduate and graduate students, and to present public lectures to the university and broader art communities. The artists will also engage with the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art on innovative collaborations.

"My husband, Jan, and I are very happy to establish The California Studio at UC Davis,” said Maria Manetti Shrem. “In addition to the outstanding art studio faculty, students will now be exposed, informed and inspired by a broader group of accomplished visiting artists. Promoting education is our top priority with our charitable endeavors.” 

“I am so grateful to Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem for their long-standing support of the arts at UC Davis,” said Chancellor Gary S. May. “Their generosity will further enrich our campus culture, strengthen our global position as a leader in academic excellence, and is sure to inspire artists for years to come.”

Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem gave a lead gift in 2011 to help establish the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, which opened on campus in 2016. The visiting artist program adds further prominence to the campus’s already top-ranked art studio program. The UC Davis Master of Fine Arts program was recently ranked No. 15 nationwide by U.S. News & World Report alongside peers such as the New York Parsons School of Design, Pratt Institute, UC Berkeley and others.

“At this moment in time, for all of us invested in manifesting transformative change, it is important to embrace new possibilities within the university. Given Maria Manetti Shrem and Jan Shrem’s history of support of the arts at UC Davis, this alliance with them is evolutionary and auspicious. These donors become prophetic and perceptive agents of change, and we will passionately pursue this creative endeavor together,” said Annabeth Rosen, co-chair of the Department of Art and Art History.

Because of current COVID-19 state guidelines and restrictions, the first program is tentatively scheduled to begin in person at UC Davis in fall 2021. The visiting artists will be announced prior to the launch.

Art Studio Alumni Experiences 

Daniel Alejandro Trejo (B.A., art studio and art history, ‘13)

“Both the art studio and art history programs have been pivotal in developing my art practice outside of an academic situation. The programs prepared me for studio management, as well as introducing professional elements of administrative work — writing proposals, reports, research — into my practice.”

Vincent Pacheco (M.F.A. ‘17)

“I initially enrolled into the program expecting to engage with the simple matters of the art world, galleries and the studio. Instead, I was asked to confront matters of the self. This shift was instrumental in my development, and it has greatly informed the work I create to this day. I now navigate my art practice with an acute awareness of the person I am, the person I've been, and the person I’m becoming.”

Julia Haft-Candell (B.A., art studio, ‘05)

“I learned not to get attached to an idea, but to be open to change and accident. Annabeth Rosen created a community in the studio where we worked hard but cooperatively. Our critiques were rigorous and conceptual, rarely based on technique and craftsmanship. Ceramics was presented as an art form, a means to an end, all the while encouraging technical basics to provide freedom to experiment. Rosen was my model for bridging the ceramics and fine art worlds. After graduating, she encouraged me to apply to residencies, find a post-baccalaureate studio, and later to apply to graduate school.”



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