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Welcome to the Arts Division for 2023-2024!

Dean Celine Parreñas Shimizu

Together, let us continue building our beloved community. Coming together as students, faculty and staff keeps our connections strong as we create new knowledge. Everyday I am in awe of our enterprise which entails the deepest transformations as we work on our own voices, develop our questions, help each other, and come together to change and better the institution.  

As Dean, I run the division and provide its vision as chief administrator which prioritizes a climate where everyone feels belonging in order to thrive. What guides my leadership is a deep love for the arts and a need to keep its definition fervently open. Art powerfully deploys emotion and reason both, to create understanding and communicate (seemingly) effortlessly. Art gives context and meaning to graphs, statistics, metrics, and algorithms, enabling us to grapple with the unpredictability of life itself. Art expresses what five paragraph essays cannot. Painting shows the limits of lined notebooks when the expression truly requires large blank canvases. Music shows us how we don’t yet know how to hear when it creates unexpected sounds that move our bodies, making us feel our feet anew. Films show us the emotions we did not know we were capable of feeling when unleashing in us different kinds of tears from laughing or weeping. Art is at home with ambiguity, at times more comfortable with questions than answers, articulating the unanticipated and making real worlds that don’t yet exist but should. Histories of art are needed to understand how we think and perceive the world around us today. And most importantly, I want the pleasure of art making and scholarship available to all who need them. I abide by the belief that excellence requires equity, and innovation requires inclusion. Our research mission is ensured by diversity. Art is better when everyone has access. 

During this academic year, my goals include:

-- Continue our equity mentorship program to empower our faculty and staff to relish the joys and confront the challenges of diversity and inclusion by developing skills and systems that lean into the power of the arts.

-- Increase our record-breaking fundraising efforts. Together, in the past two years, we quadrupled the historical fundraising in the division. Let us raise funds to support our students, staff and faculty as we approach the campus comprehensive campaign for which the Arts have big priorities and big dreams. 

-- Further establish exceptional student success programs through mentorship and professionalization efforts within the division. We will continue to examine each of our roles in student success in a world where many students are distressed and in need of support and guidance.

This year, the Arts Division will be introducing its groundbreaking new major, Creative Technologies – the first, online academic degree program within the entire U.C. system! Led by Year Zero Director, Professor of Music, Ben Leeds Carson, the Creative Technologies B.A. leverages pedagogical, topical, inclusion, and equity opportunities of online learning, in order to serve the widest range of prospective students. The curriculum traverses history, theory, techniques, and practices and is rooted in the values of justice, community, and activism, and in which web-based learning thoughtfully facilitates traditional and innovative teaching.

Within the Arts Division, many landmark programs continue to thrive and elevate our community of learning. The Institute for Arts and Sciences (IAS), Arts Research Institute and Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery offer research, exhibitions and community engagement. Our Third Thursday Sesnon Salons join faculty, staff, students to celebrate the latest and greatest in our departments and programs. Our Arts Advocacy Council, composed of outstanding leaders in the arts, including UCSC Arts alumni, help us to enact our future, informed by their expertise, experience and care for public higher education. And the Arts Professional Pathways program demystifies careers and provides crucial financial support for internships and the dissemination of student work. 

Watsonville Is In the Heart, our Arts event this April 2024, is a major NEH-funded project in collaboration with the Humanities and the Museum of Art and History celebrates this region as the heartland of Filipinx America, a community to which I belong. We will celebrate the cultural history, art, heritage and resistances born in this region which should not be forgotten in the context of the violence enacted here to erase us. Justice will be served through the Arts. Join us!

Fiat Slug,
Dean Celine
Celine Parreñas Shimizu, M.F.A., Ph.D.
Dean of the Arts Division
Distinguished Professor, Film and Digital Media