Gurdon Woods, sculptor who helped establish UCSC Art Department, dies at 92

Gurdon Woods, a visionary arts educator who helped design and create UC Santa Cruz's first curriculum and facilities in the arts, died July 31 at his Aptos home. He was 92.

Woods served as director of the California School of Fine Arts from 1955 to 1965 before he was recruited to the newly opened UCSC campus in 1966 to create and chair what would become the Art Department. Woods initiated and developed an innovative program of interdisciplinary art education at the campus, bringing to UCSC such revolutionary artists as composer John Cage and choreographer Merce Cunningham.

Woods left UCSC in 1974 and went on to direct the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles and work as deputy director of programs for the Los Angeles Natural History Museum. He retired in the 1980s to create sculptures in Aptos as a studio artist, regularly exhibiting his work, which can be found in Bay Area museums and private collections.

See Gurdon Wood's San Francisco Chronicle obituary.