a sign of hope: The Art and Teaching of Corita Kent


Provided there is access onto campus,
we will be open from Monday, June 17 to Saturday, June 22 from 12 to 5 pm.

image of corita's art titled why not put a little snap in your life?

April 1 – June 22, 2024

In 1966, Eloise Pickard Smith curated an exhibition at the UCSC Field House: “Serigraphs by Sister Corita Kent”. 

Speaking to the Santa Cruz Sentinel at the time, she stated, “It is our hope in Cowell College to make the visual arts an essential part of a student’s total education.” Close to sixty years later, the Eloise Pickard Smith Gallery continues the mission of its namesake and the work of Corita Kent is returning to campus to spark fresh conversations about the role of art in education, radical faith and social justice.

A Sign of Hope: The Art and Teaching of Corita Kent explores the art and teaching of Corita Kent. Corita (b.1918-d.1986) was a Sister of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Los Angeles. The exhibition emerges from the connections between the life and work of Corita and “The pursuit of truth in the company of friends,” that defines the ethos of Cowell College. 

Exhibition curators Sheilah Lynch and Ziggy Rendler Bregman were directly influenced by Corita during their time at Immaculate Heart High School. Corita was Chair of the College Art Department and her classrooms were in the basement of the High School where they observed her radical teaching and were inspired by her joy. 

Corita shook up the traditional Catholic institution with her serigraphs drawing attention to social justice issues including hunger, racism and war through her vibrant pop-art iconography and innovative teaching. Lynch and Rendler-Bregman went on to study at UCSC and spent portions of their careers at Cowell, where they carried lessons from their time at Immaculate Heart with them to their work.

A notoriously inspiring teacher, Corita created rules for art making such as “Don’t try to create and analyze at the same time. They’re different processes,” and “We are breaking all the rules, even our own rules.” She encouraged students to look at the familiar with fresh eyes. She was so committed to seeing the world in new ways, she even told her students not to blink when watching films. 

In recent years, her contributions to pop-art have been recognized by major museums and institutions. Corita produced nearly 800 serigraphs in her lifetime. This exhibition celebrates her significance as an artist while also emphasizing her legacy as an educator. 

Opening reception: April 7, 2024; 3–5pm (Registration not required)

Alumni Reception: April 12, 2024; 3–5pm (Register here)



The Eloise Pickard Smith Gallery invites you to a screening of the film Rebel Hearts.

In the 1960's a trailblazing group of nuns in Los Angeles bravely stood up to the Patriarchy of the Catholic Church. Fighting for their freedom from an all-powerful Cardinal who sought to keep them in their place, they turned the Church upside down. Artist Sr. Corita Kent became an iconic force inspiring generations to come through her prints and teaching.

Special Guest: Lenore Navarro Dowling

Friend and colleague of Corita will join us for a discussion following the film. Lenore holds a PhD in Communications/Cinema at USC and taught film at Immaculate Heart College. At age 93, she is still active in the Immaculate Heart Community focusing on Peace and Social Justice issues.


Film Runtime: 1h 43m

Refreshments Provided.


Artist Jon Fischer sitting next to his artwork

Screen-printing Workshop with Jon Fischer

Join us for a special Art Friday with Jon Fischer!

Jon Fischer is a San Francisco interdisciplinary visual artist with a background in printmaking and engineering combining drawing, photography, video, sculpture, and sound.

Art Fridays are always free and open to artists of all levels of ability.

May 9, 2024

Eloise Pickard Smith Gallery, Cowell College




This exhibit was sponsored by:

Lenz Arts * Watson Fine Art Conservation

Please email epsgall@ucsc.edu for more information.

Directions and Parking The Eloise Pickard Smith Gallery is located at Cowell College. The closest parking lots can be found at Cowell and Stevenson Colleges, Lots 107, 109, 110, and 108. Slightly farther parking can be found at East Field House, Lot 103A, and Merrill College, Lot 119. Here is a map of the parking lots at UCSC. Some parking spaces can be paid for using the ParkMobile app.

For more information about parking on campus, please refer to the Transportation and Parking Services website.