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An Uncommon Place: Shaping the UC Santa Cruz Campus

October 4, 2015 @ 11:00 am - 4:00 pm  |  Eloise Pickard Smith Gallery, Cowell College


Uncommon PlaceAs part of UCSC’s 50th Anniversary celebration
An Uncommon Place: Shaping the UC Santa Cruz Campus
Exhibition Dates: Friday, September 18, 2015 – Sunday, October 25, 2015
Public reception at the Smith Gallery at Cowell College:
Friday, September 18, 5:00pm-7:00pm

Curated by Emeriti Professors James Clifford, Michael Cowan, Virginia Jansen, and Emeritus Campus Architect Frank Zwart.

All events are FREE

The exhibition, originally presented last spring at the Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery at Porter College, traces the decisive moments in the early creation of UC Santa Cruz’s built environment.

Everyone agrees that the UC Santa Cruz campus is breathtaking. How was it created? An Uncommon Place traces decisive moments in the site’s early development. Here an innovative educational project engaged with a beautiful and challenging environment. The university took shape among steep ravines and dramatic trees in a way that respected as it transformed the landscape. Using architectural plans, photographs, and oral histories, the exhibition illustrates paths taken and not taken-decisions, constraints, and hopes. It celebrates the achievement of UCSC’s founding planners while analyzing the tensions and contradictions that were built into their project. Through its many subsequent transformations, the UC Santa Cruz campus remains an extraordinary work of environmental art.

Remembering these formative years can perhaps help us renew a powerful utopian experiment. At UC Santa Cruz, architecture and environment still conspire to create an uncommon place, a setting for teaching, research and imagination outside the bounds of the ordinary.

Sponsored by UCSC Alumni Association; Divisions of the Arts, Humanities, Physical and Biological Sciences, Social Sciences; Colleges: Cowell, Eight, Kresge, Oakes, Porter, and Stevenson; McHenry Library Special Collections & Archives; and University Relations.


Eloise Pickard Smith Gallery Hours:

Tuesday – Sunday, 11:00am to 4:00pm (Exhibition Dates: September 18 – October 25)

The gallery is wheelchair accessible and admission is free. Group tours are available by appointment (831) 459-3606. Please visit our website


October 4, 2015
11:00 am - 4:00 pm
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Eloise Pickard Smith Gallery, Cowell College
Cowell College‎ 1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064 United States
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