Dec 16, 2020

Dear UCI Friends and Colleagues:

Kim KanataniAs the new art museum and institute at UCI in the initial phases of start-up, the COVID-19 curve ball thrown in the early spring enabled us to pause and reflect on our priorities. Urgent demands for a more just and equitable society provided a framework for deliberation. We have used this unanticipated time out of the public eye to examine issues around diversity, inclusion, and authorship as we consider our purpose and responsibilities.

Like all of us at UCI, we remain guided by our deep belief in education and access. We also believe art museums can and should be at the nexus of community; responsive and relevant to campus and regional concerns; provocateurs in collaborative knowledge-building and sharing; and partners with artists to offer alternative ways of thinking, seeing, and taking action. I had an opportunity to share some ideas about the role of museums in contemporary society in this recent article in The Atlantic following a UCI News feature on What's Next: The Future of Museums published this summer.

Installing the First Glimpse exhibition of the Buck Collection at UCI's Contemporary Art Center

The planning process we have been engaged in for the past many months has helped us to articulate IMCA's aspirations as an epicenter for California Art. In addition to exhibitions that feature our growing collection, we have identified several signature initiatives that we are eager to pilot as soon as on-campus activities resume and resources allow—undergraduate internships and teaching artist opportunities, graduate fellowships, artist and scholar residencies, new artist commissions, programming collaborations with other schools and museums, and a library and archives on California Art.

virtual school visit

We also just launched a new program of virtual school visits for grades 3-12 in Orange County. Local students and their teachers have been interacting digitally with compelling artworks from our permanent collection via online workshops facilitated by our education staff. We are also introducing new teacher resource publications, which will be available free of charge to augment classroom learning.

These are some of the ways we are working to connect arts and education, helping students, faculty, artists, scholars, alumni, and visitors near and far find meaning from and connection to life experiences through art. There will be many opportunities to get involved with IMCA in the New Year and we want to hear from you! To learn more, please visit our websitefollow us on Instagram, and sign up for our monthly e-newsletter. 

We send you our warmest wishes for a safe and healthy holiday season.

Kim Kanatani
Museum Director

PS To read about the Mexican influence on how the poinsettia was named and became the traditional holiday flower in the US, read our latest issue of Monthly Muse.

Poinsettia by Paul Lauritz

Image Credits

Kim Kanatani, photo David Heald, 2019

Associate Director of Education Sofia Gutierrez leading a virtual school visit, screen grab, 2020

Installing the First Glimpse exhibition of the Buck Collection at UCI's Contemporary Art Center, photo Steve Zylius, 2018

Paul Lauritz, Poinsettia, circa 1925, Oil on canvas, 32 x 36 in.The Irvine Museum Collection at the University of California, Irvine.