Careers in the Creative Economy Course

Careers in the Creative Economy provides students with information, tools, and strategies to embark on arts career exploration and preparation, including strategies for addressing challenges and opportunities related to diversity, equity and inclusion.  Students will explore their career values; network with guest speakers in creative fields (alumni, faculty, graduate students, professional artists); and prepare and create career-related documents (update resumes, cover letters, project proposals) as well as learn about a variety of Arts careers through guest speakers, readings, videos, and podcasts. 

This course, funded by a larger campus grant: Graduating and Advancing New American Scholars: Promoting Postbaccalaureate Opportunities for Hispanic Americans (GANAS PPOHA)—from the U.S. Department of Education— will help the campus increase the readiness of Latinx, low-income, and students of color from UC Santa Cruz and CSU Monterey Bay to apply and succeed in graduate programs and careers. ART 177 is co-sponsored by the ART Department and the HSI Initiatives at UC Santa Cruz.

2023 Guest speakers for Careers in the Creative Economy

  • 4/20 Guest Speaker 1: Kajahl Careers in Studio Art and Gallery Representation
  • 4/27 Guest Speaker 2: Eric Rosales & Christina Weiland, Careers in Animation with Feature Film Production Manager and Technical Director from Pixar Animation Studios
  • 5/11 Guest Speaker 3: Hesiquio Mendez Alejo Careers in Gaming
  • 5/18 Guest Speaker 4: Andrew Smith from Indexical Careers in Music/Performance
  • 5/25 Guest Speaker 5: Binh Danh and Angelica Muro Careers in Academia
  • 6/1 Guest Speaker 6: Zach Andrews from The Broad, L.A. Diversity Apprenticeship Program (DAP), and Davidra Jackson from LACMA.

April 20th, 2023 - In Studio Art and Gallery Representation

Kajahl earned an MFA from Hunter College in New York and he is an adjunct faculty member at the New York Academy of Art. His recent solo exhibitions include monique meloche gallery, Chicago, IL; Richard Heller Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; and Tillou Fine Art, Brooklyn, NY. His work is in the permanent collections of The Studio Museum, Harlem, NY. He has received the Rydell Visual Arts Fellowship, and Artist in Residence at the Joan Mitchell Center, New Orleans, LA. Kajahl lives and works in Santa Cruz, CA.

Kajahl studio artist:



April 27th, 2023 - Careers in Animation

Eric Rosales is a Feature Film Department Manager at Pixar Animation Studios and is currently the Producer of the next original Pixar Spark short film. Upon graduating from UC Santa Cruz in 2000 with a BA in Film and Digital Media, Eric worked in television and live-action feature film production before joining Pixar in 2004 as the Rendering department coordinator on The Incredibles. Most recently Eric managed the Art department on Pixar's latest feature film, Lightyear. 


Christina Garcia Weiland is a Lead Technical Director in Sets at Pixar Animation Studios. Christina graduated from Texas A&M University's School of Architecture with a Bachelor of Environmental Design and studied Visualization for her master's degree.  Before joining Pixar in 2002 as a generalist intern on Finding Nemo, Christina designed custom homes for an architecture firm in San Antonio, Texas. She recently finished a stint on Inside Out 2 and is starting work on a new, unnamed Pixar film.


May 11th, 2023 - Careers in Gaming

Hesiquio Mendez Alejo is a Technical Designer for Tender Claws, an award-winning art and games studio based in Los Angeles. Hesiquio Mendez Alejo is deeply passionate about the intersection of art, technology, and human interaction through digital media. He believes that games have the power to engage users and make a positive impact on the world. Games connect people, facilitate learning, and inspire new ways of thinking.


May 18th, 2023 - Careers in Music and Non-profit Performance Spaces

Andrew C. Smith is the Executive Director of Indexical, curator, composer, and performer. Smith is the primary curator of Indexical’s performance programming and exhibitions and leads institutional development and organizational planning. In addition, he serves as an external Curator-in-Residence at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History. Prior to Indexical, Smith worked as the Managing Director of the S.E.M. Ensemble throughout the John Cage Centennial at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and Paula Cooper Gallery, as well as in marketing and fundraising at Issue Project Room and the Seattle Symphony. He holds a D.M.A. in Music Composition from UC Santa Cruz and a B.A. in English from Willamette University.




May 25th, 2023 - Careers in Academia

Binh Danh (he/him) Associate Professor, Coordinator for the Photography program, Department of Art and Art History, San José State University.

Known for his innovative approach to alternative photographic processes, Binh Danh extends and reconsiders the pursuit of pioneering nineteenth-century photographers. Danh imbues this scenery with his distinctly personal perspective—namely, an attempt to negotiate his connection as a Vietnamese American with the landscape and history of the United States. Danh received his BFA in Photography from San Jose State University and his MFA from Stanford University. In addition to recent solo exhibitions at the Louisiana State Museum, New Orleans, LA (2018); and Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, NY (2016), his work has been included in group exhibitions at institutions including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA (forthcoming, 2023); de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA (2023); and the American Academy in Rome, Italy (2022). He is the recipient of numerous awards and grants and just released a new monograph published with Radius Books. 


Angelica Muro, VPA Dept. Chair (She/Her/Hers) 

Associate Professor, Integrated Media, Photography, and Community Engaged Practice Visual & Public Art Department

California State University, Monterey Bay

Angelica Muro holds an MFA degree from Mills College and a BA in Photography from San Jose State University.  Recent exhibitions include Glamorgeddon at SOMarts, San Francisco, Photo ID, Santa Cruz Museum of Art, Chico & Chang: A Look at the Impact of Latino and Asian Cultures on California’s Visual Landscape. Muro’s curatorial projects have been awarded grants from the Center for Cultural Innovation through the Creative Capacity Fund, the James Irvine Foundation for Intersections, Creative Work Fund, and Adobe Youth Voices.  She is the co-founder, principal, and curator of Space 47 projects, and is an Assistant Professor of Integrated Media and Photography at CSU, Monterey Bay where she is Chair of the Department of Visual and Public Art.

June 1st, 2023

Zach Andrews, Program Director Diversity Apprenticeship Program (DAP) at The Broad in Los Angeles. As part of the museum's commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity, The Broad created the Diversity Apprenticeship Program to provide opportunities for people to gain the training and experience they need to pursue rewarding careers in the art world, and to increase respect for the field of art handling as a profession. 


Davidra Jackson is an Art Preparator at LA County Museum of Art (LACMA) who recently completed The Broad’s highly competitive Diversity Apprenticeship Program. Art Preparation is the act of working directly with art or cultural objects in museums, galleries, or art shipping companies. Davidra graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a Bachelor's degree in Studio Art with a focus on Printmaking. Before working at LACMA, Davidra worked in various roles at the Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery, where she held positions such as an Archivist, Assistant Registrar, and Preparator. Aside from her museum career, she loves listening to music and trying new foods.

About the Careers in the Creative Economy (ART 177) instructor:


Shelby Graham has been an arts educator and arts advocate for over 40 years and served as the Director/Curator of the Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery University of California, Santa Cruz, from 1999 to 2021. Graham earned her MFA in photography from San José State University and specializes in alternative and experimental photography with innovative contemporary curatorial praxis. She currently is a guest curator for the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art.

Please see her website for more info: