Kate Nichols: 2015 Richard Diebenkorn Teaching Fellow

Kate Nichols: 2015 Richard Diebenkorn Teaching Fellow

San Francisco Art Institute

Kate Nichols, Promethean Aspiration, 2013. Silver nano-particle paint on glass, 16 x 59 inches.
January 20, 2015
Kate Nichols: 2015 Richard Diebenkorn Teaching Fellow

San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI)
800 Chestnut Street
San Francisco, CA 94133


San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) is pleased to announce artist Kate Nichols as the recipient of the 2015 Richard Diebenkorn Teaching Fellowship. Established in 1998 by the family of renowned painter Richard Diebenkorn, who studied and taught at SFAI beginning in the 1940s, the fellowship makes it possible for a contemporary artist to both teach at SFAI and pursue independent studio work.

Nichols will teach two courses during the fall 2015 semester, give a public lecture in the Visiting Artists and Scholars lecture series, and engage with the SFAI community through individual student critiques and other academic activities.

Nichols comments: “I’m delighted to be counted among the accomplished painters who have received the Diebenkorn Teaching Fellowship over the years. My hope is to do for SFAI students what various teachers have done for me—provide a glimpse of the exciting possibilities that come from engaging with ideas embedded in materials and processes.”

Nichols synthesizes nanoparticles to mimic structurally colored animals, grows artificial skin from micro-organisms, and makes her own paints, following 15th-century recipes. The long tradition of painters as material innovators inspired Nichols to become the first artist-in-residence in the Alivisatos Lab, a nanoscience laboratory at UC Berkeley. In 2010, Nichols was appointed a TED Fellow and was awarded a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship. Her artwork has been featured on the cover of the journal Nature, on the TED stage, and in the permanent collection of The Leonardo Museum.

According to SFAI Dean Rachel Schreiber, “We are excited to have the opportunity to bring an artist whose work merges science and the materiality of paint in such interesting ways. Kate’s work offers a view into the intersection of aesthetics and scientific research, and she herself is an energetic interlocutor for her approach and ideas.”

Richard Diebenkorn Teaching Fellowship
The Richard Diebenkorn Teaching Fellowship is dedicated to the memory of distinguished painter Richard Diebenkorn. In January 1946, Diebenkorn enrolled at SFAI as a student, and in September was awarded the school’s Albert Bender Grant, which allowed him to travel and work independently for a year. Diebenkorn went to New York, and when he returned the following year was offered his first teaching appointment at SFAI. He taught through 1949, and again from 1959 to 1966. The Richard Diebenkorn Teaching Fellowship was established in 1998 to honor his contributions as a teacher and to provide a similar opportunity to contemporary artists.

Awarded in alternate years to Bay Area–only artists and then to US artists outside the Bay Area, this prestigious fellowship has been given to fourteen artists, including Brad Brown, Shaun O’Dell, iona rozeal brown, Josephine Taylor, Taravat Talepasand, and most recently, Liam Everett. Through the semester-long structure of the Fellowship, the residency not only offers each participating artist invaluable time to further their own studio work—it also leaves a deep, lasting impression on SFAI’s students.

The Richard Diebenkorn Teaching Fellowship is funded by the generosity of the family of Richard Diebenkorn.


About San Francisco Art Institute
San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI), founded in 1871, is one of the country’s oldest and most prestigious institutions of higher education in the practice and study of contemporary art. As a diverse community of working artists and scholars, SFAI provides students with a rigorous education in the arts and preparation for a life in the arts through an immersive studio environment, an integrated liberal arts and art history curriculum, and critical engagement with the world. Committed to educating artists who will shape the future of art, culture, and society, SFAI fosters creativity and original thinking in an open, experimental, and interdisciplinary context.


San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) awards 2015 Richard Diebenkorn Teaching Fellowship to Kate Nichols

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January 20, 2015

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