Photo of man with dark hair and black clothing sitting in a chair surrounded by art that is brightly colored
This fall's spotlight artist Raúl de Nieves in his studio. (floto+warner)

New Program Brings Globally Renowned Artists to UC Davis Classrooms

The California Studio: Manetti Shrem Artist Residencies launches this fall

The UC Davis Department of Art and Art History solidifies its place as a premier hub for artistic innovation and fine arts education with the launch of The California Studio: Manetti Shrem Artist Residencies. The department’s three-year program starts this fall with a lineup of internationally renowned “spotlight” artists Raúl de Nieves, Jennifer Packer and Ann Hamilton; and teaching artists-in-residence Tamar Ettun and Beatriz Cortez. The new 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.

At the core of The California Studio’s mission is a commitment to a hands-on studio art education that distinguishes it among similar programs. Each spotlight artist will spend up to 10 days at UC Davis and teaching artists-in-residence will instruct on campus for a full academic quarter. Visiting artists will engage substantively with undergraduate and graduate students through classes, practicums and studio visits, enriching the campus community and expanding upon teaching philosophies that have long been the hallmark of the department. Each artist will also give a presentation open to the public.

“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. “As we return to campus this fall, UC Davis will open up with groundbreaking conversations and extensive public programming with artists from around the world.”

Image of two people standing in a snowy field with dark woods in background holding a large cone shaped orange fabric filled wiith air
Tamar Ettun’s "Mauve Bird with Yellow Teeth Red Feathers Green Feet and a Rose Belly: Part BLUE." (Matt Grubb)

Fall 2021

  • Raúl de Nieves creates ornate sculptures and performances inspired by religious ceremony and costuming traditions. This year the Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami, and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, mounted solo exhibitions of his work. He will give a free public lecture Oct. 14. 
  • Tamar Ettun is a multidisciplinary artist whose works have been exhibited widely. Ettun was the Chinati Foundation Artist in Residence in 2020. She teaches at Columbia University School of Arts and Parsons School of Design. She will give a free public lecture Oct. 7. 
    Both talks are at at 4:30 p.m. at the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art.

Winter 2022

  • Jennifer Packer is a painter whose intimate portraits and still life paintings have been featured at the Serpentine Gallery in London and the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. She has received awards from the American Academy in Rome and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her solo exhibition “Every Shut Eye Ain’t Sleep” is at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, through February 2022.
images of three works of art. Upper left a larger boulder like structure rust colored in a rocky landscape. Upper right, image of person with large dark hair, gray/blue shirt and blue pants sitting cross legged. Bottom While colored mosaic stones speling out words.
Clockwise from top left: "Glacial Erratic" by Beatriz Cortez (Courtesy of the artist); "Jess" by Jennifer Packer (Collection of Ursula Burns. Photo: Jason Wyche); and "CHORUS" by Ann Hamilton (Thibault Jeanson).

Spring 2022

  • Ann Hamilton, winner of the National Medal of the Arts and a MacArthur Fellowship, is internationally recognized for her large-scale multimedia installations, public projects and performance collaborations. She represented the United States in the Venice Biennial and Sao Paulo Biennial and has exhibited extensively around the world with recent major commissions at the University of Chicago, the Wexner Center for the Arts and the World Trade Center subway station.
  • Beatriz Cortez is a cultural critic and visual artist. She is a professor at California State University, Northridge. Cortez was the winner of the inaugural Frieze LIFEWTR Sculpture Prize in 2019 and the 2016-2017 California Community Foundation Fellowship for Visual Artists.

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 the Manetti Shrems, 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. I am deeply honored to have this opportunity to build upon UC Davis’ legacy as a top-ranked hub for art studio practice and teaching.”

For more information on upcoming events and The California Studio, visit

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