Change Things arts installation at UC Riverside

Arts and Culture

Ray of Light

Immerse Yourself in Our Arts and Culture

At UC Riverside, we pride ourselves on our multicultural roots — and that extends to the richness of our arts and culture scene. In fact, we’re known as the City of Arts and Innovation. Both on campus and off, we offer everything from the visual arts to literary works and musical performances. So prepare to be immersed — and inspired!

Head downtown to stimulate your senses through the array of art exhibitions, films, events, and performances at UCR ARTS. Here, you’ll find the Barbara and Art Culver Center of the Arts and the California Museum of Photography. With more than 500,000 pieces in its collection, the museum is the largest photographic center in the western United States, housing the region’s most comprehensive public camera collection.

Interior of The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art and Culture

On the corner of Mission Inn Avenue and Orange Street, you can check out our newest high-profile museum, The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art and Culture — better known as The Cheech. The museum, which opened in June 2022, is a public-private partnership between the Riverside Art Museum, the City of Riverside, and comedian Cheech Marin. Visit to view, celebrate, and learn more about Chicano art!

Photo Credit: Riverside Art Museum

Students practice “Mountain and Water Remembrance Ritual” during their class, Dance as Ritual

UCR offers a variety of dynamic performing arts programming — including dance, theater, and music — on campus and in downtown Riverside. First in the nation to offer a PhD in dance studies, today UC Riverside is the only University of California campus with PhD programs in dance and music.

UCR Writers Week

At UCR’s annual Writers Week, the longest-running free literary event in California, you’ll hear from renowned and upcoming authors. Students can also improve their literary skills through our Department of Creative Writing — home to the only Bachelor of Arts in creative writing in the UC system and an MFA in creative writing and writing for the performing arts. Tom Lutz, award-winning author and founding editor-in-chief of the Los Angeles Review of Books, is on the faculty!

Looking for more ways to engage?

Our Center for Ideas and Society — an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research support center — offers fellowships, research workshops, and public events to strengthen the academic, social, and creative life of the university and beyond. And through our Gluck Fellows Program of the Arts, UCR students share their talents with our community via free arts outreach experiences in select schools, eldercare facilities, museums, and libraries.

On our vibrant campus, there are always opportunities to celebrate the arts and culture — from showcases by the Department of Dance to music festivals, film screenings, and other special events coordinated by our Associated Students Program Board (ASPB).

And if you make it out to our annual Block Party, Spring Splash, or Homecoming concerts, be sure to bring your Highlander pride. You never know… at some of these events you may even catch a performance by our very own UCR Pipe Band.


Arts and Culture News

Emmett Till exhibition
Emmett Till exhibition answered a call to action
When discussing the exhibition, “The Impact of Images: Mamie Till’s Courage from Tragedy,” Douglas McCulloh says, “Her decision to have an open casket and insist Black photographers be present wasn’t just courageous.” The casket was for her 14-year-old son, Emmett Till, “who was abducted, tortured, and lynched in Mississippi in 1955, after being accused of offending a white woman,” the exhibition text reads.
Read More »
UCR Arts exhibition explores where AI meets art
As you enter “Every Day We Must Make the Reality of This World: AI Post Photography,” you step from a darkened, industrial space into a bright white room that curves around to an exit. It’s like stepping into the Discovery One spaceship in Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.” The unframed images give the impression of computer printouts tacked up in a teenager’s room or windows into a surreal space, a reality you recognize, but broken apart and reassembled in unsettling ways.
Read More »
Acting- The Basics, third edition by Bella Merlin
BOOKS: ‘Acting: The Basics,’ brings an art form back to its cave-drawing origins
Bella Merlin, professor of theatre, film, and digital production, releases a third edition with updated case studies and a focus on inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility.
Read More »
47th annual Writers Week Festival at UC Riverside
47th Writers Week coming to UC Riverside in February
The event includes 52 authors and will honor literary giants Dave Eggers, Quincy Troupe, and Rigoberto González.
Read More »