Art Works

Meet our artists in residence and join them in as they share their skills and trades to create a stronger bond with the communities and our ties to the world through art.

Exhibited from June 1, 2016 - September 25, 2016.

Join Artists-In-Residence in our open studio exhibit, where practicing artists can exchange their skills and interact with the community.

Create your own puppet, build a nest, test your embroidery skills, discuss what skin color means to you in a delicious way and interactive way, and share your scar stories at Art Works.

Meet the Artists

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Nanci Amaka

Nanci was in the gallery from May 31st – July 11th, 2016

Create mono prints and portraits from your scars and reveal the stories behind them with Nanci Amaka. Nanci is an interdisciplinary conceptual artist with multiple degrees, a BA in Visual Critical Studies from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA from California College of the Arts. Nanci's art focuses on ideas surrounding trauma, identity, memory and the liminal spaces between experience and language. Having spent her formative years in a rural rainforest village in Nigeria, Nanci’s paintings and drawings explore global displacement due to widespread ecological destruction. Her work focuses on memory, trauma, and identity; which are all shared human experiences. Scars are also ubiquitous. We have all fallen down, cut ourselves, or been hurt at some point in our lifetime. Sometimes, these events stay with us on our bodies and minds, leaving us with stories of our own and ways to share our experiences. Santa Cruz Scar Stories, part of the series of Scar Stories, is a continuation of a project working under the hypothesis that the action of remembering allows for understanding ourselves in a new way.

Read More about Nancy's 'Scar Stories Series - Santa Cruz Scars'

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Hua Meng Yu 'missTANGQ'

missTANGQ was in the gallery from May 31st – June 30th, 2016

missTANGQ is a Chinese-American multi-media artist and first-generation mystic. She is deeply inspired by the many different elements of her identity and through the collaborations, she facilitates transformative emergent experiences. Adapting ancient mythologies for contemporary storytelling and ancestral traditions in form of diasporic futurisms by using clay, paper-maché, textiles, and organic materials harvested from nature and repurposed objects to construct wearable sculptures that fuse cultural traditions, ancient divination practices, numerology and symbology, animism and cosmology. As Director of Engagement for a non-profit serving marginalized communities, she has developed and led nationally renowned educational programs and workshops that unite arts exploration with humanizing liberation pedagogy. Among these, she has developed mask-making workshops that use divination to explore archetypes, identity, and mythology. These themes also reflect the queer and immigrant experience as it seeks to transform what has been inherited by society and culture into a creative undertaking of self-creation. She is the recipient of several awards and has completed residencies with the SOMArts Cultural Center, Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History and Xucun International Art Commune in China. Her work has been featured in numerous galleries and performance spaces in Seattle, Los Angeles, New York, the Bay Area, Hawaii, Mexico, and China as well as notable performances at Fort Mason Center for the Arts, Asian Art Museum and SFMOMA.

Read More about her 'Open Studio Residency' at The MAH.

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Carmina Eliason

Carmina was in the gallery from June 28th – July 11th, 2016

Recreate domestic spaces with food, drink and cultural conversation in La Casa de Cultura y Comida with Carmina Eliason. Carmina is a Bay Area artist who uses photography, social practice, and performance to make interactive spaces to instigate conversation, connection, and reflection on culture, identity, and contemporary social issues. Carmina uses stories and experiences from her own life. where she engages the public in conversational exchanges about topics that are difficult to talk about such as domestic violence, immigration, and identity. Carmina often recreates common domestic spaces based on the homes and culture of her family who live in Mexico to start these conversations. In the past, she has made tortillas to explore feeling like a multicultural imposter, tea to talk about domestic abuse, and salsa to create conversation about the differences and similarities between Pakistani and Mexican culture. She has an MFA from San Jose State University and a BA in Cultural Anthropology from CSU Monterey Bay. Carmina’s work has been exhibited regionally, as well as in Mexico and Iran.

Read more on Carmina's Residency at The MAH and her exhibit, 'Cafe con Leche : Conversations on Skin Color'

Lanier Sammons Og

Lanier Sammons

Lanier was in the gallery from June 28th, 2016 – July 25th, 2016

Create a piece of music with 100 other visitors and Lanier Sammons. Lanier is a composer, recordist, and educator. Lanier’s music often explores ideas like audience interactivity, improvisation, the intersection of popular and classical musics, and the pairing of electronic and acoustic sound. For Lanier Sammons, audience-interactive music-making provides both a chance to share the pleasure of musical creation and a rich set of compositional challenges. Lanier’s work aims to explore the new ways of thinking about musical form and material that participatory processes offer and to confront audience interactivity’s particular demand that the composer craft consciously and effectively the social environment in which and from which the music emerges. Through this exploration, Lanier hopes to provide visitors with engaging, expressive, and novel musical experiences that pull back the curtain on the acts of composing, performing, and recording music.

Listen to what they’ve created here.

Sasha Petrenko At De Young

Sasha Petrenko

Sasha was in in the gallery from July 12th-August 8th, 2016

Build human-sized nests out of fabric scraps with Sasha Petrenko. Sasha is a San Francisco based interdisciplinary artist, educator and Artistic Director of The New Urban Naturalists. Her work utilizes sculpture, performance, prose and visual media to draw parallels between earth science and human relationships. Her projects have been featured widely and at international venues, such as the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the de Young Museum of San Francisco, the University of California, Berkeley, Oberpflalzer-Kunstlerhaus in Schwandorf, Germany and at Kulturfolger in Zurich, Switzerland. Sasha worked on a series of human-scale baskets or nests which were created from repurposed materials and donated textiles. She used textile donations from the public (which she requested) and in exchangeSasha offered several drop-in weaving workshops where visitors could help build the collective nests or learned to make their own.

Read More on Sasha's Residency at The MAH , 'ART WORKS Residency at The MAH'

Abigail Han Now

Abigail Han

Abigail was in the gallery from July 12th – August 22nd, 2016

Taste the recipes of historical and contemporary Santa Cruz in our gallery kitchen. Abigail Han is a practicing artist originating from Singapore and holds an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. She makes experimental films and uses performance, video, installation, and drawing in her work and is interested in exploring concepts of collective memory, fragmentation of identity and language. Her work has been exhibited in Singapore, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Hong Kong, Paris, and the Czech Republic. Abigail bridges the private space of the kitchen with the public space of the museum. Exploring Santa Cruz’s place on the coast as a hub for trade routes, the gallery kitchen will feature how historical recipes are an amalgamation of cultural roots. How does culture shape the food we eat? How does the food we eat shape culture? Given Abigail’s Singaporean roots, food has always been an interest to her. But the food’s place of preparation has remained a mystery, an offstage space. A void of historical and cultural knowledge. During her residency, Abigail charters the kitchen to the surface where she will explore historic and contemporary recipes with the public.

Read More about Abigail's Residency at The MAH, 'Studio Kitchen'

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Kevin Devaney

Kevin was in the gallery from July 26th – August 22nd, 2016

Step into the Poetry Parlor and forge your own poems with Kevin Devaney. Kevin is a graduate of the Sarah Lawrence College MFA program and a spoken word advocate. Kevin is the founder of the Santa Cruz’s Only Weekly Poetry Open Mic, the Sarah Lawrence College Spoken Word Collective, The Northampton Poetry Brothel, Northampton Poetry, and of the former Art Bar & Cafe Philanthropub. Kevin Devaney, a poet who is interested in writing the raw, and in the moving poem of the moment.

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Gabriel Sosa

Visit Gabriel in the gallery from August 23rd – September 25th, 2016

Examine the impermanence of memory and its consequences for justice while creating oral history with Gabriel Sosa. A linguistic and interdisciplinary artist, focusing primarily on drawing, sound a video, Gabriel is a 2016 graduate of the MFA program in Boston at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. Gabriel uses his own personal experiences as a court interpreter and his own family history to create the archives of drawings and oral histories. Testimonies explore the potency and fallibility of memory through a series of interviews with museum visitors, thoughtfully and creatively integrating his research methods with his experience interpreting in the justice system.

Stefanie Wolf

Stef Wolf

Visit Stef in the gallery from August 9th – September 25th, 2016

Tell your own stories of movement and place through the art of embroidery with Stef Wolf. A Santa Cruz artist Stef focuses on a childish whimsy and the intersection between social justice and an empathic connection. A major concern for her is an authentic connection in a world that seems increasingly defined by bifurcation and political subterfuge. Not only does Stef focus her art on empowering others through teaching hands-on textile art skills, and she is also the co-founder of The Fábrica: Community Textile Arts and Salvage Cooperative and a graduate of San Jose State University.

Read More about Stef's Residency at The MAH... 'Embroidery 101'

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Grant Wilson

Visit Grant in the gallery from August 23rd – September 25th, 2016

Create social justice puppets with Grant Wilson. Grant is a puppet builder, social-political street theatre performer, community advocate & arts publicist. He designs large puppet builds and revels in the creative use of cast-off materials, shaping forms with simple tools and integrating multiple elements. They are designed to move and interact with people and the environment, creating the entire puppet-making process to encourage participation. Grant is a co-founder of the Santa Cruz Art and Revolution Convergence in 1998, which received a Gail Rich arts award in 2002. He is not only a graduate of UCSC (Psychology with an Art Therapy emphasis, but he has also continued to be involved in collaborative community projects in Santa Cruz.

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“These things are about moments in our lives that were traumatic and owning them”

Nanci Amaka, Artist-In-Residence — Scar Stories Series: Santa Cruz Scars

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“The mask comes to life only when somebody puts it on, it is actually made to be embodied”

missTANGQ — Huang Meng Yu 'missTANGQ', activist, educator, and Artist-In-Residence

This summer, the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History ventures into new territory -- by putting the artists themselves on display. In so doing, the show Art Works gives a whole new meaning to the concept of “open studios.”

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