Established in 1980 by Elizabeth W. Russell, the Russell Foundation has been a major supporter of Department of Visual Arts. Details about the Russell Lecture Series and Russell Grant are outlined below.


Russell Lecture Series:

The Russell Foundation reserved $100,000 for an annual lecture between the department and MCASD that invites internationally acclaimed artists and curators to San Diego. Through this lecture series, visual arts graduate students are able to have an intimate workshop with the selected speaker and the greater San Diego community also benefits through a larger lecture presented at the Museum. Inaugurated in 1994, the first speaker to visit both institutions was Curator Richard Armstrong, now the Executive Director of the Guggenheim. Recent Russell lecturers include contemporary artists Sophie Calle in 2009, Isaac Julien in 2012, Tania Bruguera in 2013, and Byron Kim in 2014. 


Russell Grant:

With its advent in 1980, The Russell Foundation supported student projects in visual arts and in 1994 formalized these awards into the Russell Grant with an endowment of over $300,000. The Russell Grant has supported a range of innovative projects by undergraduate and graduate visual arts students including support for exhibitions and travel for research.


Student Testimonials:


“When I received the Russel Grant, I used it for a project that was a partnership between the visual arts department and the UCSD Women's Center. The overall process was amazing and left a lasting impact on me. That experience, afforded to me through the Russel Grant, enabled me to transition into graduate school with professional experience and understanding.” Aimee Harlib, Art History Undergraduate Alumnus

“I had completed my first year exhibition using student grade oil paint, but as I learned more about painting in graduate school it became important to me to use artist grade paints and true pigments. It made a large difference in terms of the colors, quality and luminosity of the paint, and that change allowed me to start making professional quality work.” Jessie Mockrin, MFA Alumnus


“I used the funds from the Russell Grant awarded to me in Fall 2012 to pay for a roundtrip ticket to Japan. The grant was instrumental in making my year of field research possible. I returned to San Diego with the primary source materials necessary for completing my dissertation. I am grateful to the Russell Foundation for the generous support.” Paul Ricketts, Ph.D. Candidate, Art History, Theory and Criticism