Rydell Visual Arts Fellowships Exhibition ━ Times Publishing Group, Inc.

Four local visual artists have been selected by the Santa Cruz County Community Foundation to receive the Rydell Visual Arts Fellowship Awards for 2022 and 2023.

They are Kristiana Chan, Anna Friz, Kajahl Benes-Trapp and Janette Gross. Each scholarship recipient receives a $ 20,000 scholarship to pursue their artistic career.


Kajahl Benes-Trapp was born in Santa Cruz in 1985 and received his BFA in Painting from San Francisco State University in 2008. He spent his final year studying at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze, Tuscany, Italy. In 2012, Benes-Trapp received his MFA in painting from Hunter College in New York.

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Kajahl Benes-Trapp at work

In 2013, he was a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant. He was also artist in residence in 2016 at the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans. Most recently, Benes-Trapp received an Artist in Residence at the Lower Eastside Printshop New York in 2019.

Benes-Trapp is represented by the Richard Heller Gallery in Los Angeles and the Monique Meloche Gallery in Chicago. Recent solo exhibitions include Obscure Origins at Tillou Fine Arts Brooklyn, NY, curated by Larry Ossei-Mensah. Entities discovered at the Richard Heller Gallery in Los Angeles.

His latest solo exhibition, Royal Specter, opens at the Monique Meloche Gallery in Chicago, IL. His work is in the public collections of Collection Solo, The Dean Collection and 21c Museum Hotel: Art Museum.


Kristiana Chan | is a first generation Malaysian-Chinese artist, writer and educator from the Southern United States. Her work examines the physical memory of the landscape and the excluded stories of the displaced Chinese diaspora.

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Kristiana Chan |

It researches the political, historical and environmental heritage of the landscape and its material elements, incorporating their elementary properties into its processes. Working in several disciplines, she uses video installation, archival photography and experimental alternative photographic processes.

More recently, Chan has worked with clay and ceramics collected from the wild. She is deeply fascinated by how the not-so-distant stories of racial exclusion, erasure and extractive environmental capitalism lay the groundwork for every day, live contemporary experiences, and contribute to our simultaneous crises of violent racism and climate catastrophe. .

Uncovering the roots of our origins, his work seeks to revive and account for the stories and lives lost, and their implications for race and the environment, so that by knowing where we came from, we can envision a new future for ourselves.

Chan’s personal exhibitions have taken place at the START Gallery (Winston-Salem) and The Growlery (San Francisco). Group exhibitions include SOMArts, ProArts, Root Division, Kearny Street Workshop, and CTRL + SHFT Collective. Chan’s work has been featured in Lenscratch Magazine, Seawitches Zine, and Thank You For Nothing Zine. She holds a BA from Wake Forest University.


Anna friz creates media art, sound and the art of transmission, working across multiple platforms to present installations, shows, films and performances. His works reflect on media ecologies, land use, infrastructure, the perception of time and critical fictions.

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Anna Friz at work

Currently, Friz is focusing on a series of audiovisual works under the title We Build Ruins, which expressly consider the mining and industrial corridors in the high altitude desert in northern Chile.

She has often worked with the Toronto-based collective Public Studio to create multi-channel film installations and sculptures that critically examine the social policies of landscape, environment and urban systems.

Presentations of his work in recent years include Ars Electronica Festival (Linz, Austria), Museum of Arts and Design (New York), SITE Gallery (Houston), The New York Times Magazine, esc Media Kunst Labor (Graz, Austria), ReWire Festival (The Hague, Netherlands), Soundhouse at the Barbican (London), Espace Multimedia Gantner (Belfort France) and RE: SOUND Festival (Aalborg, Denmark).

Friz’s radio works have been heard on airwaves in more than 25 countries and commissioned by national public radio stations from Austria, Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany and Mexico.

Friz holds a PhD from York University in Toronto and is currently an Assistant Professor of Film and Digital Media at UC Santa Cruz.


Janette Gross is a tapestry weaver whose work focuses primarily on wedge weaving, a technique developed by the Diné (Navajo) Nation in the late 19th century. It honors the Diné tradition but uses contemporary designs and techniques.

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Janette Gross with her art

Gross dyes most of his woolen yarns with natural dyes, many of which come from local plants. Gross began to study weaving and tapestry techniques after his retirement. His current work focuses on the devastating effects of climate change.

She and a visiting group of local weavers worked for many years in the Watsonville studio of famous carpet weaver, Martha Stanley. Gross’s work has been exhibited at the Richmond Arts Center, Textile Center Minneapolis, Santa Cruz Art League, Museum of Quilts & Textiles, and American Tapestry Biennale 13.

Gross is a member of the Santa Cruz Textiles Arts Guild, Tapestry Weavers West, Handweavers Guild of America, Textile Arts Council and American Tapestry Association where she is currently treasurer of the board.

For many years she worked with blind and visually impaired weavers in a program sponsored by the Santa Cruz Textile Arts Guild.

Gross lives in the Opal Cliffs section of Santa Cruz County with her husband. She holds a BA from Drew University in New Jersey.


Roy and Frances Rydell established the Roy and Frances Rydell Fund for the Visual Arts to the Community Foundation in 1985 to promote artists and arts organizations in Santa Cruz County. After their death, their estate was bequeathed to the foundation. Their donation has generated more than $ 1.4 million in scholarships for artists and in support of visual arts organizations in Santa Cruz County.

The Rydell Visual Arts Fellowship program was developed with input from the local arts community to honor the wishes and intention of the Rydells. The scholarship program, now in its 16th year, has awarded $ 680,000 directly to artists.

(The full list of current and past winners is available at www.cfscc.org/articles/the-rydell-visual-arts-fellowship-program)

Giveaways allow artists to have uninterrupted creative time to focus solely on their work and its impact on the local community and the world at large.

The scholarships help individual visual artists to pursue their creative work and are made solely on the merits of their art and not tied to the completion of specific projects.

“Roy and Frances Rydell understood that artists not only bear witness to life, but play a vital role in helping humanity process our collective experience,” said Susan True, CEO of the Community Foundation. “As we enter the third year of the global COVID-19 pandemic and our community continues to heal from the CZU fires, there is so much life to see and deal with. This new cohort of artists – their diversity in age, origin and form of expression – will help us think, learn, grow and bear witness as life in all its beauty and pain continues. to unfold.

For this round of scholarships, 51 artists applied from a pool of nominees nominated by 26 local and regional visual arts organizations and former Rydell scholars. Applicants were limited to active artists, 25 years of age or older, who reside in Santa Cruz County and are not enrolled in a degree program.

Nominating organizations were invited to consider the broad disciplines that Rydells saw as part of the visual arts: painting, drawing, printmaking, ceramics, sculpture, installation, mixed media, set design, photography, costume design, textiles, glass, film and video.

In October, a panel of three nationally recognized arts professionals gathered at the Foundation to judge the artists’ works and select scholarship recipients. Panel members were Maori Holmes, artistic director and CEO of BlackStar in Philadelphia; Garth Johnson, Paul Phillips & Sharon Sullivan, Curator of Ceramics, Everson Museum in Syracuse; and Astria Suparak, independent curator, former director and curator of contemporary art galleries at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and Syracuse University.

The $ 80,000 in new Rydell scholarships was complemented by an additional $ 200,000 in unrestricted grants to local arts organizations this spring.

“The artistic scholarships and grants we provide year after year support those who make our local arts landscape as vibrant and vital as it is. The creativity of our local arts community never ceases to inspire us. We are proud of the funding we are able to channel into the arts, and it is because of the people who love this place, see a better future, and act by giving. said Kevin Heuer, Director of Engagement and Impact.

The 2020-2021 Rydell Fellows will be featured in the Rydell Visual Arts Fellowship exhibit at the Downtown Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History from January 21 to March 20, 2022. For more information, visit: https: //www.santacruzmah.org/ exhibitions / rydell scholarship

Community Foundation Santa Cruz County helps donors and their advisers invest wisely in the causes they care about, provide grants and resources to community organizations, and provide leadership around key local issues. The Foundation manages more than $ 168 million in charitable assets and offers personalized, tax-efficient giving solutions that resulted in more than $ 21 million in grants in 2020. Thanks to generous donors, more than $ 131 million Local grants and scholarships have been awarded locally since 1982. The Community Foundation seeks to make Santa Cruz County thrive for all who live there, now and in the future. Learn more at www.cfscc.org.

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