Dizikes Art Cases

The Dizikes Art Cases showcase art by individual students, works along thematic lines provided by a number of contributors, pieces produced by students in Book Arts classes at the Cowell College Press, or displays that complement college events.

The cases are located in the hallway outside of the Cowell Fireside Lounge, just around the corner from the entrance to the Dining Hall.

NOTE FROM THE CURATOR“Art is healing. Make art for the sake of making art and nothing more. And when you’re done, submit your work to the digital cases! Any and all art will do!”

Online Cases

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the Dizikes cases will be moved online until life can resume to normal. However, we want to utilize the digital space to keep a record of all UCSC student artwork. Think of it as an expansion to the cases itself in addition to an artistic data base. 

Link to apply for digital posting:
artwork by Whitcroft

Students: Want to Get Involved?

The Dizikes Cases Curator is looking for student artists to be showcased! We feature all types of visual art including drawings, paintings, photography, sculptures, needlework, mixed media, etc. In the past, there have been several remarkable showcases, even a student's collection of unusual neckties. Anything can be art, and the Dizikes Cases curator would be happy to learn about your display collections or visual creations.

If you are interested in a possible showing, please email curator Kenneth Arnold at krarnold@ucsc.edu to arrange a time to view and discuss your art. The dimensions of the cases are 8 ½ feet in length, 3 feet 2 inches in height, and 11 inch in depth. They are locked at all times. A numerous amount of media can be featured, such as ceramics, woodwork, textiles, and traditional art. If you're interested in receiving emails about current showings, get added to the email list by contacting krarnold@ucsc.edu with the subject
as "email list." 

History of the Dizikes Cases


Once upon a time, in place of the Dizikes Art Cases were shelves where students and faculty could leave their bags and books before entering the dining hall. The shelves were used infrequently and became an eyesore due to misuse. Fortunately, along came John Dizikes (diz-zee-kez), a founder of Cowell College and former provost. A strong supporter of the arts, John decided to fund a display case for student art. At the time, there were limited opportunities for students to display their work--the nearby Eloise Pickard Smith Gallery typically featured professional artists. John also reserved the Dizikes Cases curator position for students. Thus, the Dizikes Cases were founded to both showcase student art and give students themselves the opportunity to decide how their work would be represented. To this day, John's vision remains to be a unique feature of Cowell College.

John Dizikes in library

More on John Dizikes

John Dizikes (1932-2018) was a founding UC Santa Cruz faculty member who helped establish this campus as a student-focused institution.

During his more than 50-year association with UC Santa Cruz, John left an indelible mark. He was a professor of history, a co-founder of the American Studies Department, and a provost of Cowell College from 1979-1983. First and foremost, though, he was a dedicated educator, committed to the ideals of UC Santa Cruz and absolutely devoted to our students.

John first saw our campus when it was still unfolding in the minds of our founders. No buildings had even been constructed yet, but he was thrilled by the opportunity to help build an institution from the ground up, where new approaches to higher education could be implemented, with students the centerpiece. John was a central figure in those early efforts. He mentored thousands of students over the course of his career. An award bearing his name is presented each year to a Humanities Division faculty member who displays excellence in teaching, recognizing the transformative impact great teaching has on undergraduates. The award includes a $3,000 prize, as well as a student component: each faculty recipient selects an undergraduate to receive a $3,000 scholarship.

The first recipient, Bruce Thompson, called Dizikes "one of the most extraordinary teachers I've ever met." Thompson expressed the sentiments of many when he added, "I don't think I'm going out on a limb in saying that he must have been the most beloved professor in the history of our university."

Dizikes saw himself as a student — always curious, always learning — and had wide-ranging interests. He loved music. He had a deep interest in thoroughbred horse racing. He authored five books, including Opera in America: A Cultural History, which won the 1993 National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism. His other books include Yankee Doodle Dandy: The Life and Times of Tod Sloan, a biography of the Hall of Fame jockey; Sportsmen and Gamesmen: From the Years that Shaped American Ideas about Winning and Losing and How to Play the Game; and Britain, Roosevelt, and the New Deal: British Opinion, 1932-1938. Dizikes published his most recent book, Love Songs: The Lives, Loves, and Poetry of Nine American Women, in March 2018.

While Provost, John and his wife Ann were known for the weekly gatherings of students at the Provost’s House just before College Nights.  Before year’s end, every on-campus Cowell student had been invited to join them. John and Ann are beloved within the Cowell community, and are still honored with a yearly Dizikes music festival, usually occurring in the fall.