New Program Brings Leading Contemporary Artists to UC Davis Classrooms

New Program Brings Leading Contemporary Artists to UC Davis Classrooms

‘The California Studio: Manetti Shrem Artist Residencies’ Launches This Fall

Internationally known contemporary artists who have exhibited widely their sculptures, performance art, paintings and other works will engage with students and the public beginning this fall as artists and teaching artists-in-residence at the University of California, Davis.

The California Studio: Manetti Shrem Artist Residencies — the Department of Art and Art History’s new three-year program — starts with a lineup in the 2021-22 academic year that includes “spotlight” artists Raúl de Nieves, Jennifer Packer and Ann Hamilton. Additionally, teaching artists-in-residence Tamar Ettun and Beatriz Cortez will instruct classes for a 10-week academic quarter.

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.

“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."

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 an 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.

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. She was the Chinati Foundation Artist in Residence in 2020 and teaches at Columbia University School of Arts and Parsons School of Design. Ettun will give a free public lecture Oct. 7.

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.

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 the 2016-2017 California Community Foundation Fellowship for Visual Artists, and she is the Longenecker Roth Artist-in-Residence at UC San Diego this fall quarter. 

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.” Research 1 universities are those known for their high degree of research activity.

Media Resources

  • Jeffrey Day, College of Letters and Science, 530-219-8258,

  • Karen Nikos-Rose, UC Davis News and Media Relations, 530-219-5472,