Digital Arts building slated for completion in May 2009

Following years of meticulous planning and preparation, the $25 million Digital Arts building is under construction near the Elena Baskin Visual Arts Center on the UC Santa Cruz campus. The erection of the steel superstructure is nearing completion, with the new facility is slated for delivery next May.

Digital Arts Facility photo

Iron workers at the Digital Arts building construction site perform structural welds on beam-to-column connections. Erection of the steel superstructure is nearing completion. (Photo by Carolyn Lagattuta)

The Digital Arts building will house the expanding Digital Arts New Media program as well as provide studios for Art faculty, a photography studio, and expanded space for Music and Theater Arts classes.

The Digital Arts building was designed by BCJ, the architects that designed the Apple-Stores and Pixar Studios. Situated at an important crossroads in the public-access area of campus, the building is conceived as a node, or hub, at the center of the existing Theatre, Music and Visual Art facilities.

At the building’s core, both physically and intellectually, are facilities housing the multi-disciplinary Digital Arts and New Media (DANM) MFA program, which draws its faculty and students not only from the arts, but also from Engineering, Mathematics, Biology, Anthropology and many other disciplines.

Modeled on the successful MIT Media Lab, this facility will provide offices and research labs for 36 graduate students, two leadership research faculty members (others having their labs in the nearby departmental facilities), and post-doctoral students involved in research, fundraising and industry collaborations. Faculty studios, graduate research laboratories, and undergraduate instructional facilities from several arts disciplines will surround this core.

This fall, the Arts Division’s development office will launch a multi-million dollar capital campaign to raise the remaining funds needed to bridge the gap between the state-funded allocation and the current costs of completing the construction of the facility. This one-year campaign will culminate with a celebration of the opening of the Digital Arts building for student classes in Fall of 2009.

An advisory board comprised of faculty, administration, alumni, community members, and digital arts industry representatives is being formed this quarter.  Over the summer, they will delineate the objectives of the campaign, confirm the various naming opportunities within the building, identify prospective stakeholders and supporters of the project, and create strategies to engage them in the creation of the facility.

If you are interested in learning more about joining our advisory board or supporting this philanthropic venture, please contact Matt Henry, Arts Development director, at 831-459-2439 or by email at



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Spring 2008