a college student mixing paint in an art studio
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Celebrate National Arts and Humanities Month at the CSU

Alisia Ruble

Find CSU art exhibitions and online viewings across California.

a college student mixing paint in an art studio

​​First-generation Chico State alumnus Joel Solis ('22) says his art is inspired by his mother and wanting to celebrate his Latinx culture. Learn about his work.​ (Photo courtesy of Matt Bates​/Chico State)


The 23 universities of the California State University system are vibrant and diverse communities where curious minds come together to engage in rich discussions about life and culture. The arts play an important role in facilitating these discussions as they encourage us to be introspective about ourselves and our neighbors, and often ask us to question the status quo, examine society's inequities and imagine a brighter future.

In the words of the late American educator Ernest Boyer: “Art helps us see connections and brings a more coherent meaning to our world."​

As the nation celebrates Arts and Humanities Month this October, we highlight just a few of the myriad opportunities to appreciate the arts from emerging and established professionals connected to the CSU.

Chancellor's Off​ice​

​​an illustration of two children in a colorful magical

​​​​A still image from 2022 Media Arts Festival winner for Best Animation, "Rainbow," by Cal State Long Beach alumna Hui Tan. (Photo courtesy of CSU Summer Arts/Hui Tan)

​Media Arts Festival | Contributed
Digital Screenings and Awards Ceremony Online

Students and student teams representing eight CSU campuses have been named finalists for the 33rd annual CSU Media Arts Festival, out of more than 200 submissions. The entries are divided into four categories: animation, documentary/creative non-fiction, narrative and short screenplay.

The finalist projects will be available for screening online October 20-26, 2023, culminating in an online awards presentation October 26 at noon PDT. A winner will be announced for each category.

The event, which began in 1991, gives talented CSU students studying film, broadcasting, video, screenwriting and new media an opportunity to present their work for critical review by a panel of distinguished faculty and industry leaders​ and win cash prizes.

To view the finalist projects and find more information, visit the Media Arts Festival website. Interested parties can also register to attend the online awards presentation via Zoom.

CSU Dominguez Hills​


​​​​Installation view of Mario Ybarra Jr.'s "Personal, Small, Medium, Large, Family." (Photo courtesy of CSU Dominguez Hills)

"Personal, Small, Medium, Large, Family"​ | Mario Ybarra Jr.
University Art Gallery

Mario Ybarra Jr.'s sculptural installation, "Personal, Small, Medium, Large, Family​​," presented by CSU Dominguez Hills explores the impact of mass incarceration on families and communities through the artist's personal experience of watching a friend enter the prison system as a teenager.

The installation is a scaled model of the Red West Pizzeria in Wilmington, California that Ybarra and his friend ate at as children in the late 1970s and 1980s and includes interview footage with his friend, who was incarcerated for 32 years.

Ybarra grew up in the greater Los Angeles area and has become known for producing contemporary art that is filtered through his Mexican ​American experience. His work operates as examinations of excluded​ social norms and often includes complete environments, histories and narratives.

The installation will be on display September 30 through December 8, 2023. For more information, visit CSU Dominguez Hills' University Art Gallery website​.

Cal Poly Humboldt​​

​​a hanging wooden sculpture that resembles a fire along a river

​​​​Robert Benson's "Burning Along the River," made of salvaged old growth Redwood, oil paint and fire. (Photo courtesy of Cal Poly Humboldt/Robert Benson)

"Tintah: Amongst the Trails" | Robert Benson
Goudi’ni Native American Arts Gallery

Focusing on a new body of work from Robert Benson, of the Tsnungwe Tribe, "Tintah"—Hupa language for 'amongst the trails'—​features watercolor studies and sculptures made from salvaged old growth Redwood. Benson is a leading figure among artists in the northwestern California art world whose current paintings and sculptures are filled with both literal and figurative trails.

"When we consider that at the most basic level a trail is just something connecting two points, even the ladder and stairway forms that populate my work can be viewed as kinds of trails," Benson said in a Cal Poly Humboldt press release. "To be amongst the trails is to find your own rhythm, your place, and to discover the interplay between that rhythm​ and the melody of the universe."

The exhibit will be on display in person and presented virtually at art.humboldt.edu/galleries ​from October 5 through December 2, 2023. For more information, visit Cal Poly Humboldt's Goudi’ni Native American Arts Gallery​ website.

Cal State Long Beach​


​​​​Tom Rubnitz's "Untitled" acrylic on reinforced plaster from 1986. (Photo courtesy of Cal State Long Beach)

"Drag Show" | Contributed
Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum

A new exhibit at Cal State Long Beach is focused on New York City's East Village in the 1980s and 1990s

"Drag Show​," consists of photographs, drawing, paintings and multimedia that capture a moment in time when the Pyramid Club—a gay, drag and punk nightclub—and Wigstock, an annual outdoor drag festival, ​were popular draws. Many of the works depict the day-to-day lives of drag performers.

Artists include Nan Goldin, Mark Morrisroe, Jack Pierson, Tom Rubnitz, Linda Simpson, Tabboo! (aka Stephen Tashjian) and David Yarritu​.

Paul Baker Prindle, director of CSULB's Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum, said in a CSULB press release​ that he "wanted to give an example of how artistic communities responded to the AIDS epidemic, and help our students become more familiar with additional ways we can deal with shared trauma."

The collection will be on display from September 14 through December 15, 2023. For more information, visit Cal State Long Beach's Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum​ web​site.

Cal Poly Pomona​

​​on the left a photo of a sculpture that looks like a prism and on the right a piece made of a journal with rocks on top of it

​​​​Two of the artworks on display at Cal Poly Pomona: Anthony James's "50" Icosadreon (Bronze)" (left) and Jane Szabo's "Secrets." (Photos courtesy of Anthony James Studio/Melissa Morgan Fine Art and Jane Szabo)

Solo Exhibition | Anthony James
W. Keith & Janet Kellogg University Art Gallery

Cal Poly Pomona invites members of the campus community and the public to discover the captivating world of contemporary artist Anthony James in a solo exhibition presented in collaboration with Melissa Morgan Fine Art. The exhibition features a range of works that serve as a testament to the exploration of art, science and spirituality.

With mesmerizing sculptures and installations, and his innovative use of materials and techniques that transcend conventional boundaries, James invites viewers on a journey of introspection and wonder.

The works will be on display from September 16 through November 16, 2023. For more information, visit Cal Poly Pomona's W. Keith & Janet Kellogg University Art Gallery website.

"Family Matters" | Jane Szabo
Don B. Huntley Gallery

Additionally, Cal Poly Pomona's Don B. Huntley Gallery is hosting an exhibition from conceptual artist Jane Szabo entitled "Family Matters." The show incorporates memory, metaphor and allegory to express the challenges, burdens and joys of Szabo's role as daughter and caretaker of her elderly parents.

Using childhood possessions and simple items that had been in her family for years, Szabo creates tableaus that hint at complicated family dynamics and presents a catalog of feelings.

The works will​ be on display from August 21 through November 9, 2023. For more information, visit Cal Poly Pomona's Don B. Huntley Gallery website.

Sacramento State​

​​a room in which there are miniature models of buildings

​​​​Won Ju Lim's "Castings" will be on display at Sacramento State from August 9 through December 8, 2023. (Photo courtesy of Sacramento State)

"Castings" | Won Ju Lim
Library Gallery

On display now in Sacramento State's Library Gallery, "Castings" is a 15-year exhibition survey of Los Angeles-based artist Won Ju Lim​ featuring a new large-scale installation comprised of more than 200 architectural​ models and objects.

Lim's work explores the intersection of architecture, sculpture and film, incorporating layered references to Baroque and early 20th-century architecture, science fiction films and literature.

Her sculptures are presented both as distinct objects and integrated into large-scale installations with light and shadow as additional sculptural elements. Having studied architecture as an undergraduate student, Lim employs​ model building and scale shifts as artistic strategies.

The exhibition will be on display from August 9 through December 8, 2023. For more information, visit Sacramento State's Library Gallery website.

SDSU Imperial Valley​

​​three photos of agricultural workers against backdrops of fruit and flowers

​​​​Janet Diaz will showcase her artwork, "Sangre Sudor y Amore: Hunger for the American Dream," at the "Land of Milk & Honey exhibition at SDSU Imperial Valley. (Photo courtesy of Janet Diaz/MexiCali Biennial)

"Land of Milk & Honey" | Contributed
Steppling Art Gallery

San Diego State University (SDSU) Imperial Valley showcases "Land of Milk & Honey​," ​a traveling multidisciplinary arts and culture program presented by MexiCali Biennial that focuses on concepts around agriculture in California and Mexico. Special talks and workshops will also be announced.

Drawing inspiration from John Steinbeck's​ portrayal of the region as a corrupted Eden, the program questions ethical, cultural and regional practices related to foodways, and the venture from seed to table.

Luis Guillermo Hernandez, director of ​SDSU Imperial Valley's Steppling Art Gallery and the co-founder of MexiCali Biennial, says the exhibition allows a space for artists to express their experiences and journeys living in a transborder agricultural community.

The exhibit​ will be available to the public from October 13 through December 2, 2023. For more information, visit SDSU Imperial Valley's Steppling Art Gallery website​​.

Sonoma State​

​​a painting of a sleeping floating woman wearing a blue dress

​​​​Mimi Chen Ting's "Sleeping Woman," (Photo courtesy of the Estate of Mimi Chen Ting/Artists Society)

"This Side of Blue: The Art of Mimi Chen Ting" | Curated by Holly Shen
University Art Gallery

​"This Side of Blue," presented by Sonoma State's University Art Gallery, focuses attention on the late artist Mimi Chen Ting. The ​exhibition centers on Ting's paintings, highlighting her interest in a matrix of connected genres and influences including figurative painting, abstraction, landscape and a lifelong engagement with movement.

A Chinese American artist who immigrated to California in 1965, Ting often interwove Eastern and Western aesthetics into her work. Her dynamic paintings explore themes including immigration, womanhood, place and belonging.

Ting had a strong connection to the CSU—she earned a bachelor's degree in studio art and a master's degree in painting, both from San José State where she also taught.

The exhibit will be on display from September 7 through December 10, 2023. For more information, visit Sonoma State's University Art Gallery website.

​Artistic Alumni​

an abstract painting of many red orange and yellow shapesAn a​rt installation by double CSU alumnus Mark Steven Greenfield (Cal State Long Beach '73, Cal State LA '87) is featured inside the new Historic Broadway Metro Station in Los Angeles, California. Greenfield's piece, "Red Car Requiem​" (pictured above), commemorates the Red Cars, which was the nickname for the Southern California​ Pacific Engine Railway system—​the largest electric railway system in the world in the 1920s, covering more than 1,000 miles of track. Greenfield worked with the Cal State LA Alumni Association to conduct a community survey to inform his artwork. (Photo courtesy of Cal State LA)

This September, San Diego State double alumnus Jose Olague ('04, '10) together with national Chicano student organization, M.E.Ch.A. (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán), unveiled a mural in the southeastern part of Barrio Logan park in San Diego, California. The piece, which Olague (pictured above on the left) started painting in 2003 as an SDSU student, depicts key figures and events in the struggle for Chicano and Indigenous rights, as well as the history of the M.E.Ch.A. student movement on college campuses. (Photo courtesy of SDSU/Sarah Wilkins)

Take a look​ at how CSU museums preserve the past, define the present and direct the future.