UC Riverside 2024 Guggenheim fellows.
April 19, 2024

UCR celebrates 4 Guggenheim fellows

With three current faculty and one alum, UC Riverside tied for the most fellows among all public universities

Author: Sandra Baltazar Martínez
April 19, 2024

Four University of California, Riverside scholars were selected as 2024 Guggenheim fellows — among 188 fellows chosen from over 3,000 applicants this year. UC Riverside had more fellows, three current faculty and an alum, than any other UC or other public university in the country, tied with Rutgers University. The announcement came on April 11. 

UCR’s fellows are Won Ju Lim, filmmaker and lecturer with the Department of Art; Anna Betbeze, associate professor with the Department of Art;  Jos Charles, poet and visiting creative writing instructor; and Lewis deSoto, '78 alum. Guggenheim Fellowships, awarded by the Guggenheim Foundation, are intended for mid-career individuals who have demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts and exhibit great promise for their future endeavors.

“Creating discovery within the arts is a critical aspect of UC Riverside’s mission as a research university,” UCR Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox said. “I am incredibly proud of the four Guggenheim recipients. Their recognition is a testament to the exciting work within the arts that occurs at UCR.”

Lim has been teaching with the Department of Art since 2022. As a Guggenheim fellow, she will be working on an essay film, focused on the history and use of shadows in images. The formal and conceptual elements of her work draw from sources ranging from Baroque architecture, fantasy and science fiction films, the urban landscape, and the domestic space. 

“My work has long been concerned with the shadow as a means of delivering an image. Throughout the years, I have come to consider it almost as my primary medium. However, the shadow was never explored as a central subject in my work. After 20-plus years of studio practice, an essay film on the shadow seems to me to be the most natural and pertinent course for my work to take,” Lim said. “Receiving the Guggenheim Fellowship will most definitely mark a milestone in my practice. I hope to extend all that I gain from this fellowship into the classrooms and toward making a positive impact on the Art Department and the UCR community.”

Betbeze is a visual artist whose experimental work involves exploration of haptic sensation, arriving at new forms that combine elements of painting, sculpture, puppetry, performance, and pedagogy. She has been teaching at UCR since 2018.

“I am overwhelmed and humbled by the generosity of this award,” Betbeze said. “Beyond the honor, it will provide real material support for my research and allow me to work more experimentally over the next year.”

Charles is author of the poetry collections “a Year & other poems” (Milkweed Editions, 2022), “feeld,” a Pulitzer-finalist and winner of the 2017 National Poetry Series selected by Fady Joudah (Milkweed Editions, 2018), and “Safe Space” (Ahsahta Press, 2016). 

DeSoto, who graduated with a B.A. in studio art and a minor in religious studies, has been impacting the world with this sculptures, public art, exhibitions, and more. 

“The Guggenheim Fellowship is a huge boost to my career in a number of manners,” said deSoto, who is also an author, photographer, and emeritus professor at San Francisco State University. “First, it broadcasts to a wide range of people and institutions my art production over the years. Secondly, it provides money to develop new projects. It also implies that value of a UCR education and how it still resounds over the years.”  

According to a press release issued by the Guggenheim Foundation, this year’s 188 fellows are American and Canadian scientists, scholars in the social sciences and humanities, and writers and artists of all kinds, covering 52 scholarly disciplines and artistic fields of study. Since its establishment in 1925, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has granted over $400 million in fellowships to over 19,000 individuals, among whom are more than 125 Nobel laureates, members of all the national academies, winners of the Pulitzer Prize, Fields Medal, Turing Award, Bancroft Prize, National Book Award, and other internationally recognized honors. 

“Humanity faces some profound existential challenges,” said Edward Hirsch, award-winning poet and president of the Guggenheim Foundation. “The Guggenheim Fellowship is a life-changing recognition. It’s a celebrated investment into the lives and careers of distinguished artists, scholars, scientists, writers, and other cultural visionaries who are meeting these challenges head-on and generating new possibilities and pathways across the broader culture as they do so.”

Header image: UC Riverside's 2024 Guggenheim fellows (L-R): Lewis deSoto, Anna Betbeze, Jos Charles, and Won Ju Lim. (UCR)

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