UC Hastings Partners with California Artists to Display Original Artworks on Campus

man smiling with frames above
Sausalito-based artist John Warren Travis poses in front of his “Dahlia Blue” collection at the UC Hastings Cotchett Law Center.

The rotating art exhibit provides exposure for the original work of 38 artists, most of whom are based in the Bay Area, while adding beauty and thought-provoking perspectives to campus walls.

UC Hastings has teamed up with dozens of California artists to showcase their work on campus in a rotating exhibit that school leaders say has enriched the lives of students and the larger community.

smiling man in podium
UC Hastings Chancellor and Dean David Faigman spoke about the value of art on campus during a May 26 artist reception.

“If you’re going to be a whole person, if you’re going to study law and all the rigors of that, to be able to walk around and feel the inspiration and creativity that’s embodied in this artwork, it changes your perspective,” UC Hastings Chancellor and Dean David Faigman said.

The artists were celebrated during a May 26 reception in which guests toured the campus and met local artists whose work beautifies the walls of the school’s newest buildings constructed as part of the UC Hastings Academic Village campus modernization plan.

San Francisco-based artist Simo Neri poses in front of her piece, “Listen!” on the fourth floor of the Cotchett Law Center.

San Francisco-based artist Simo Neri, whose piece “LISTEN!” features quotes by civil rights figures and racial justice protesters, said she wants her work to inspire future lawyers, judges, lawmakers and leaders. “That was my happiest moment when I found out my work was not only going to be in a law school but in the area of the social justice clinics,” Neri said. “I hope it offers a glimmer of hope like planting seeds that will germinate in these young minds and create inspiration.”

The rotating exhibit, called Ripples, builds on a decades-old tradition that goes back to at least the early ‘90s when UC Hastings professor Rudi Schlesinger’s wife, Prutti, curated the school’s art program. “Hastings has always had an institutional commitment to the arts,” UC Hastings Chief Financial Officer David Seward said.

El Cerrito-based artist Virginia Jourdan poses in front of her paintings depicting key moments of the Civil Rights Movement.

That tradition continues today with art curator Esther Mallouh, who worked with professors and staff members in different corners of campus to select artwork that matches each group’s values and interests.

The Center for Innovation displays a piece titled “INVENT.” Work that depicts key moments of the civil rights movement is found near the Center for Racial and Economic Justice, and paintings by disabled artists line a wall across from the Consortium on Law, Science and Health Policy.

“The idea was to make parallels with where the art was going to live,” Mallouh said.

Selected artists include: San Francisco-based artists Christopher Dydyk, Gyongy Laky, Simo Neri, Brian Singer, John Warren Travis and Debra Walker; Sausalito-based artists Aia Bower, Chris Chaffin, Anki Gelb, Christa Grenawalt, Katie Korotzer, Tom Miller, April Dawn Parker, Ellen Rothman, Dana Spaeth and Marine Strage; Oakland artists Derek Bell, Dana DeKalb and Maya Kabat; East Bay artists Salma Arastu of Berkeley, Tiffany Conway-Cornelius of Richmond, Elise Morris of Pleasant Hill, Usha Shukla of Pleasanton, Virginia Jordan of El Cerrito, and Michael Nuñez, Julio Del Rio, Lisa Blevens and Heather Hamann of the NIAD Art Center in Richmond; South Bay artists Melissa Mahoney of Palo Alto and Robert Beulteman of Montara; Marin County artists Mary Daniel Hobson and Noel Ryan; Mendocino County artists Hawk Rosales and Odis Schmidt; Los Angeles-based artists Nellie Solomon and Beth Davila Waldman; Chris Hayman of Grass Valley; Tobias Tovera of Yucca Valley; Corrine Whitaker of Carmel by the Sea; and Kamal Al Mansour, a UC Hastings alumnus and former Fremont resident now based in Hampton, Virginia.

Oakland-based artist Maya Kabat poses in front of her work, “Reconfiguration 6 & 28” in the Cotchett Law Center.

Each artist loans their work to be displayed on campus for six months to a year or more. The program offers artists exposure for their work while enriching the on-campus experience for students and the UC Hastings community.

Spectators can scan QR codes with their phones and get information about each artist and their work, including the asking price for each piece. One artist already sold two pieces to a buyer who saw their work on campus, Mallouh said.

The program, part of the Art Master Plan created by Mallouh for the school’s Academic Village project, is expected to continue when UC Hastings’ new building at 198 McAllister Street opens in Fall 2023.

UC Hastings Art Curator Esther Mallouh poses with Sausalito-based artist Ellen Rothman.

According to Mallouh, the artwork does more than just beautify academic buildings. It also creates “ripples,” such as the thought-provoking conversations among students and professors that are sparked by each piece. She told the artists, “You have not only adorned our campuses with your impressive art. You have also ignited the curiosity, imagination and determination of the next generation of lawyers, illustrated the current state of social, political and environmental conflicts and exemplified the spirit of sharing.”