Julia DeGuzman decided to apply to UC Santa Cruz four years ago during a trip down from Oakland to visit friends on campus. "I saw the Art Department and I thought to myself, this is where I'd like to create my work," the 21-year-old senior recalled. Apparently, she made the right decision.
DeGuzman has been selected as a 2003 Irwin Scholar, one of 15 select UC Santa Cruz students who will receive a $2,500 merit award to further their art education. Established in 1986, the William Hyde and Susan Benteen Irwin Scholarship fund has now grown to more than $700,000, providing annual acknowledgment to the Art Department's finest students.
"These scholarships are considered as recognition given by the faculty to the top 5 percent of the program," noted Norman Locks, chair of the Art Department.
DeGuzman's work will be showcased along with her fellow honorees at the Sesnon Art Gallery's annual exhibition of Irwin Scholars from May 21 to June 14 at Porter College. The opening reception is on Wednesday, May 21, from 5 to 7 p.m. and will include an awards ceremony. This event is free and open to the public.
The Sesnon show will feature a wide variety of art forms including painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, installation, and mixed media. DeGuzman said that her contribution will be a performance/installation piece.
"There's a lot of digital work in this show, and I feel like I'm going to be the analog piece," she explained. "The main idea is that participants will come into an environment I created and will pose a question or comment, and I'll give them a response. On the walls I'll have photographs that are significant to me that I've taken in the past three years, and strips of text about current events or my own personal history will dangle like streamers. It will all take place in an enclosed space with curtains.
"It's about process and self-exploration," DeGuzman added. "I want to learn more about how I work with other people. I plan to come in twice a week during the gallery exhibit to continue the performance."
Irwin Scholar Kimberly Seiferheld will have four sculptures on display at the show. She noted that she likes to experiment with a variety of different materials such as nails, wax, and resin in the creation of her highly personal artwork. "I'm always changing techniques and trying to perfect them," Seiferheld said. "Mostly I'm just drawn to materials and once I create a structure, it evolves from that. Most of the time I have an idea in my head, but the materials take me there."
Seiferheld noted that her art serves as a significant outlet for experiences and feelings that she has gone through as a woman.
"It's my way of working through issues that I otherwise wouldn't know how to deal with," Seiferheld said. "UCSC has allowed me to find my own style in art. They really pushed me to do that."
Both DeGuzman and Seiferheld plan to take a year off before applying to graduate school in art. DeGuzman said she will apply her scholarship funds toward the purchase of a video camera to help document her work and improve her portfolio.
"The Art Department has given me a good, solid foundation and direction," she noted. "UCSC has definitely given me a body of work I can leap out of into the future."
For more information, call the Sesnon Gallery at (831) 459-3606 or visit arts.ucsc.edu/sesnon.