Rydell Visual Arts Fellows Exhibition Blitzer Gallery!

November 22, 2017 - Rydell Visual Arts Fellows Exhibition Opens December 1!

Helen and Newton Harrison, Irene Lusztig and Kathleen Crocetti were awarded Rydell Fellowships for 2016-2017, made possible by a gift from Roy and Frances Rydell and the donor-advised fund they established at the Community Foundation.

The Harrisons, Lusztig and Crocetti each received awards of $20,000 to support their artistic careers, with no requirements on how they choose to use the money.

The three will be featured in an exhibition opening December 1, at the R. Blitzer Gallery in Santa Cruz.

The R. Blitzer Gallery is located at 2801 Mission St. (Extension) in the University Business Park (the former Wrigley Building). The opening reception is on First Friday December 1, from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. It's free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 12 noon to 5:00 p.m. 


Helen and Newton Harrison are pioneers of the eco-art movement. For over forty-five years they’ve worked with biologists, architects, urban planners and other artists to explore ideas that use the arts as a vehicle for environmental change. They've presented their work in two Venice Biennales, two Sao Paolo Biennales, the Museums of Modern Art in Chicago, San Francisco, Bonn (Germany), Ljublijana (Slovenia) and the Museum of the Revolution in Zagreb (Croatia). 


Irene Lusztig is an associate professor of Film and Digital Media at UC Santa Cruz. Born in England to Romanian parents, she grew up in Boston and lived in Europe, China and Russia. Her film and video work mines old images and technologies for new meanings and has been screened around the world and on television in the US, Europe, and Taiwan. Filmmaker Magazine listed her among “25 New Faces of Indie Film” in 2003. She holds a MFA from Bard College.


Kathleen Crocetti brings people together to talk and make art around a place or common interest, as a way to strengthen and build community. She uses a range of material including fabric, clay, steel, glass, paper and recycled items. Her work has been shown at the Felix Kulpa Gallery, Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens, and the Wood Gallery (Vermont). Her public engagement works can be seen throughout Santa Cruz County. She holds a M.A from Norwich University.


Roy and Frances Rydell, both life-long advocates of the arts, established our first donor-advised fund in 1985 to promote Santa Cruz County artists and arts organizations, in perpetuity. 

Following their passing, the Rydell estate was bequeathed to the Foundation, with the proceeds of the sale helping grow the donor-advised fund to its current level of more than $2 million.  

Since 2006, twenty-two artists and artist collectives have received $440,000 to support them in their artistic careers. In addition to the fellowship program, grants from the fund are also made to local visual arts organizations. 

The Harrrisons, Lusztig and Crocetti were selected from among a candidate pool of 61 local artists, nominated by 21 local and regional visual arts organizations and 15 former Rydell Fellows. Nominees were limited to working artists, residents of Santa Cruz County, 25 years or older, not enrolled in a degree granting program. 

In August 2015, a panel of three nationally-recognized arts professionals met at the Community Foundation to select the fellowship recipients. 

The panel members were Isolde Brielmaier, Ph.D., director of the Art Initiative at Westfield World Trade Center, New York, NY; Bill Horrigan, Ph.D., curator at large, Wexner Center, Columbus, OH, and; Wendy Watriss, senior curator and co-founder, FotoFest International, Houston, TX. 

Jack Walsh directs the Rydell fellowship program on behalf of the Community Foundation. He is an award-winning independent filmmaker with twenty-five years of credits in the field. Walsh has also managed the Eureka Fellowship Program for the Fleishhacker Foundation.