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Chair's Messagephoto of Ricardo Dominguez with a serene smile, wearing a UCSD sweatshirt, as border patrol approach him from behind

As some parts of the world start to see the possibilities of living beyond our doors and creating art after a global pandemic, the UC San Diego Department of Visual Arts is now looking toward futures, imagined in the plural, even as we mourn all those we have lost and do our best to take care of one another and the planet on which we live and work. We will continue to #SayTheirNames in the face of systemic anti-Black violence across the United States. We will persist in saying NO (in all caps) to #AntiAsianHate. We will continue to embrace and support our Trans-communities. We continue to say NO to #Deportations and say YES! to #DACA. We renew our commitment to critical and creative practices, social and political actions by the Indigenous, Black, Latinx, Asian American Pacific Islanders, people of color, Palestinians, Jewish and LGBTQIA+ communities, people with disabilities, and all other marginalized communities on campus and in the wider UC system. The Department of Visual Arts at UC San Diego is a home for artists, scholars, staff, students, audiences and all those who imagine, embody, and nurture an expansive and critical vision of art. We believe that art as a practice generates, clarifies, and expands human experience and is, in the words of the poet Audre Lorde, “not a luxury” or privilege.

We are internationally known for the significant history of our founding faculty who have made a lasting impact on contemporary art and art history as well as on generations of our alumni. As the department moves forward our current faculty include exciting new internationally renowned artists and scholars working in a range of disciplines in the study and practice of art.

The Department of Visual Arts ranks among the world’s leading art schools. Founded on the principle that the production, critical analysis and history of art are inter-related activities, we offer undergraduate and graduate programs in both art practice and art history. Our students are encouraged to collaborate with each other and to work across various disciplines to produce innovative art and research that reflects and challenges current ideas and practices. Our location in San Diego and our proximity to the US border with Mexico as well as the natural resources of the Southern California region have a lasting impact on student experience. Many of our undergraduate students go on to complete graduate degrees at top international institutions. MFA students have opportunities to participate in residencies, exhibitions and events at local, national and international venues. Our PhD students regularly present papers at scholarly conferences and curate exhibitions on and off campus. We are also one of the few departments in the world to offer a PhD in Art History with a Concentration in Art Practice, for working artists who engage with art historical and cultural research. Alumni of our undergraduate and graduate programs go on to impressive careers in the study and practice of visual art.

What ultimately makes our department so exciting is its faculty, its location and its relationship to the greater university. Our faculty and students have the opportunity to collaborate with leading researchers in the sciences, design, engineering, literature, music, theater and dance, philosophy, ethnic studies and all the vast initiatives and resources of such a distinguished institution. We believe that both our students and faculty from across the university benefit from this exchange, which promotes innovative and creative thinking across disciplines.

Ricardo Dominguez
Professor and Chair