David Dunn awarded Rydell Visual Arts Fellowship

Alumni painters Myra Eastman and Robert Chiarito also receive $20,000 grants as new Rydell Fellows

David Dunn at work in his Environmental Sound Lab
David Dunn at work in his Environmental Sound Lab

UC Santa Cruz assistant professor of music David Dunn has been selected for a Rydell Visual Arts Fellowship for 2019.

He is one of four local artists who will receive $20,000 grants from the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County in 2018-19.

The fellowships are awarded solely on artistic merit by a panel of arts professionals from outside the Santa Cruz area. They help individual artists pursue their creative work and are not tied to the completion of any specific project.

Developed with input from the local arts community, the awards were created to honor the wishes of Roy and Frances Rydell, both lifelong advocates of the arts. They established the Rydell Visual Arts Fund at the foundation in 1985 to promote Santa Cruz County artists and arts organizations.

After their passing, the Rydell’s estate was bequeathed to the Community Foundation, with the proceeds of the sale added to the fund, which has since grown to more than $2.4 million. The fund is used to support the arts through grants to visual arts organizations and fellowships to individual artists.

Dunn’s research and practice cross the boundaries between sound, performance, media arts and bioacoustics research. Last year, he received a patent in collaboration with two forest scientists from Northern Arizona University to help fight a bark beetle infestation that is killing millions of trees in Western forests.

Dunn holds an M.F.A. in New Media from Danube University, Austria, and is a core faculty member in the UC Santa Cruz Digital Arts and New Media graduate program.

His recent work has been exhibited at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History; Artpark Lewiston, NY; Art Center, Miami; The Lab, San Francisco; Gallery of Fine Arts Ostrava, Slovakia; and frieraum quartier 21, Vienna.

Dunn is also the author and editor of six books and has contributed to more than 100 academic and arts publications. He has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ford Foundation, The Foundation for Contemporary Arts, two from the Henry Langlois Foundation, three from the Rockefeller Foundation, and an Alpert Award.

In addition to Dunn, the three other new 2018-19 Rydell fellowship recipients include two UC Santa Cruz alumni--Myra Eastman and Robert Chiarito--along with intermedia artist Robin Kandel.

Eastman, who received her B.A. in art from the campus in 1977, is a painter whose works engage with political and social change issues such as war, occupation, neighborhood chaos, and gun violence. She has shown in solo exhibits at Museo Eduardo Carrillo; the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History; Felix Kulpa; Gallerie Lumiere, Savannah, GA; and the San Francisco Public Library.

Eastman has also participated in group shows at venues including the Petaluma Arts Center; bG Gallery, Santa Monica; San Diego Art Institute; Mint Gallery, Atlanta; Phoenix Gallery, New York; and OnSite Brooklyn. A recently retired public school educator, she taught elementary and middle school students for more than three decades in Santa Cruz County. 

Chiarito earned his B.A. from UC Santa Cruz in 1970 and an M.F.A. from Stanford University. Currently a professor of art at San Jose State University, he is a painter whose work has received solo exhibitions at the Triton Museum; Stanford Art Gallery; Galleria Jose Maria Velasco, Mexico City; Ahknaton Gallery, Cairo, Egypt; Casa de la Cultura Tlalpan, Mexico City; and Ovsey Gallery, Los Angeles.

Chiarito has also received commissions to create public work for the Oakland City Center, Bramalea Pacific/Cafe Fontebella, and the Santa Cruz Community Credit Union. His paintings are held in private collections throughout North America and Europe, as well as Lloyds of London, Los Angeles, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

“Roy and Frances Rydell would be proud to see how their support is making a difference for local artists,” noted program director Christina Cuevas. "It was the Rydells’ intent that the visual arts would be supported in perpetuity and that’s what the fund is doing. It is a permanent legacy that benefits everyone in Santa Cruz County.”