Above: Students attend the winter 2023 Arts Division Open Studios (photo by Carolyn Lagattuta)

When Beatriz Juárez started at UC Santa Cruz in 2019, she was majoring in linguistics and languages. But a print event she attended at the Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery had such a deep influence on her that before the end of the first quarter, she had switched her studies to the Art Department. She graduated from Oakes as a print major in 2023, and now she’s applying to M.F.A. programs. 

The change in direction, she says, was in part because she felt drawn in by how fun and welcoming the people in the print major were, and the sense of community and camaraderie there. 

Lithography class, taught by Sarah Sanford, assistant teaching professor of print media and drawing (photo by Carolyn Lagattuta)

“It doesn’t feel like an independent practice where everyone’s kind of doing their own thing,” she says. “Printing is so technically challenging at times, and it can be so large scale that you need several bodies on deck to finish your project, and I really like that. There’s no project in print media where there’s a single hand in it.”

Juárez and other Art Department students are part of a long legacy of distinction. This year, the department celebrates the 50th year of the beloved Print Sale, where the students sell their work, keeping most of the proceeds with about 20% going to the print studio. The sale will take place June 7 and 8, at the UCSC Art Department.

Support for students and studio

Sanford (right), demonstrating for student Dominique Branch (left) (Porter ’24, art) (photo by Carolyn Lagattuta)

Juárez loves that the sale supports her fellow students and the studio. She and Sarah Sanford, assistant teaching professor of print media and drawing—for whom Juárez is a studio assistant in a lithography class this quarter—emphasized the expansive nature of the sale, with print works whose processes range from traditional stone lithographs and copper etchings to graphic screen prints, as well as alternative photo-based processes like cyanotype. 

The sale marks the culmination of students’ work for the year, and the way they pitch in for everyone’s benefit shows the cooperative nature of print media, Sanford says. 

“We’re always trying to demonstrate what it means to be a good community member through consideration of a shared space and the importance of taking care of it. It’s not a medium where you’re normally off in the corner working by yourself,” Sanford said. “I think the print faculty are all about enhancing that and making everyone feel that they belong.”

Sanford says the program gives students a strong foundation while encouraging experimentation. 

“There is a particular beauty that comes from the inherent qualities of each of the different print processes, whether it’s lithography, intaglio, relief, or screen printing,” she says. “But there is also a real drive to expand and consider its potential through a contemporary art lens.” 


Willingness to innovate

Student Mars Edwards (Oakes ’25, art) working on a lithography piece in the print studio (photo by Carolyn Lagattuta)

That’s what the head of print media, Professor of Art Jimin Lee, does, combining traditional woodcuts with laser cutting and inkjet printing in her work. Lee started taking lessons in Korea when she was just 5 years old and went on to printmaking at Seoul National University, Tokyo University of the Arts, and the San Francisco Art Institute. She thinks the willingness to innovate makes the program the best in the UC system. 

Lee looks forward to the students showing what they can do at the sale and getting acknowledged—and paid—as artists. She’s aware of how expensive it can be for students to purchase the materials for their work, and along with chances to sell and show their art, she and other faculty members look for scholarships and grant opportunities. 

Senior Ellory Erecius (Porter ’24, art) appreciates those opportunities. Both they and Juárez received the prestigious Irwin Scholarship. (Erecius uses the gender-neutral pronoun “they.”) Along with financial compensation, the winners show their work in the Sesnon Gallery. 

Like Juárez, Erecius landed in print by accident, taking a stone lithography course because the class they wanted was full, and liking the camaraderie and the process, which they describe as both expressive and technical. 

After graduation, Erecius plans to move to Oregon with their partner and work in printing there. They appreciate how faculty members have encouraged them.

“When I was ready to push beyond the boundaries of what we were learning in the classes, independent study and pushing into more advanced techniques was always something I could pursue,” Erecius says. “We have staff who work in a pretty wide variety of processes, so there’s always a new direction to go.”


50th annual UCSC Print Sale

Friday, June 7–Saturday, June 8, 2024
10 a.m.– 6 p.m.
Room G-101, Elena Baskin Visual Arts Center at UC Santa Cruz
Free admission and open to the public

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