Skip to content Skip to navigation


On May 18, 2018, ArtsWest will continue with The Art and Culture on the US-Mexico Border: 2,000 Miles of Imagination that Unite and Divide Us, a symposium that will examine how art and music is shaping the social, cultural, and political identity on the US-Mexico border region. Topics covered will be painting, murals and street art, music, and Latino cinema as the chief muses that define border culture and expression. 

ArtsWest is an innovative program that aims to highlight western artists through speaker events, film screenings, and exhibitions. The West boasts a rich tradition of distinctive and celebrated works of literature, photography, and visual and cinematic art. The West is a place of global creativity and artistic vision. ArtsWest aims to place a spotlight on the contribution of the arts and humanities in the American West through public programming.

Although many associate Stanford University with the science and technology of Silicon Valley, the strong influence of the arts and humanities on campus dates back to the university's founding. Most recently, the opening of the Anderson Collection, McMurtry Building, and designation of the new Arts District surrounding the world class Cantor Center for Visual Arts have combined to place Stanford in the top tier of American universities with an emphasis on the visual arts.

ArtsWest seeks to leverage the excellence found on campus with a special emphasis on the contributions of western-based artists, writers, and cultural leaders who are inspired by the West. Through a series of lectures, seminars, symposia, and teaching, ArtsWest will highlight historical contributions and forward-looking trends in the arts benefitting the campus and public at large. Programs will alternate between Great Writers of the West and Great Artists of the West. 

The inaugural ArtsWest: Great Writers of the West lecture, Jack London: Apostle of the West, was held on September 19, 2016. Full video from the C-SPAN broadcast is available. In San Francisco on February 4, 2017, Professor Alexander Nemerov gave a lecture entitled, The School: Diane Arbus's Untitled Photographs

In May 2017, the Center hosted the second Great Writers of the West event, John Steinbeck and the Environment. A recap of the symposium and complete video from the event are available on our website. Read more about Gavin Jones’ work on Steinbeck from the Stanford News Service.

The 2017-18 season of ArtsWest events began on November 30, 2017 with a lecture by Stanford Art History professor Marci Kwon on May's Photo Studio in San Francisco Chinatown

On February 24, 2018, the Center hosted, Women Who Transformed Art in the West, a symposium featuring Arnold J. Kemp (Dean of Graduate Studies, School of the Art Institute of Chicago), Claudia Schmuckli (Contemporary Curator, Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco), a Guerrilla Girl (Käthe Kollwitz), Claudia Altman-Siegel (Director, Altman Siegel Gallery), Renny Pritikin (Chief Curator, Contemporary Jewish Museum), and Hung Liu (Artist & Professor Emerita of Art, Mills College).