On June 3, the UCLA Department of Art will present a one-time benefit exhibition and art sale featuring work by faculty, both current and former, and alumni to support the renovation and expansion of the UCLA Margo Leavin Graduate Art Studios in Culver City.

With its internationally renowned faculty and alumni, the UCLA Graduate Art Program is the standard-bearer in training the next generation of thoughtful, provocative and influential artists. Currently ranked No. 2 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, the program continues to be the most competitive M.F.A. program on the West Coast.

Faculty and alumni contributing work to the benefit exhibition and sale include Judy Chicago, Anne Collier, Robert Heinecken, Mary Kelly, Toba Khedoori, Barbara Kruger, Rodney McMillian, Dave Muller, Catherine Opie, Lari Pittman and James Welling, among others.

“It has been a great honor and privilege to teach at UCLA for the past 15 years and to be part of an extraordinary community of faculty and alumni whose passion and commitment to the arts is unparalleled,” said Catherine Opie, professor of photography who is leading this initiative for the UCLA Department of Art. “This event allows us to come together to celebrate the impact that our community has had and continues to have on the art world, while building on the momentum that Margo’s gift has generated for our department.”

The benefit exhibition and sale offers an opportunity for faculty, alumni and the broader community to show their gratitude for the generous lead gift made in 2016 by art dealer and UCLA alumna Margo Leavin, who graduated in 1958, in support of a new building to transform the program’s existing Culver City warehouse facilities.

“I hope that my lead gift will inspire others to join me in supporting this project so that we can give emerging artists the facilities and support they need. It’s time to get back to the basics — without artists there would be no art world,” Leavin said.

Los Angeles artists, gallerists, collectors, and arts leaders including Ann Philbin of the Hammer Museum, Michael Govan of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Philippe Vergne of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, among others are joining forces in support of the event to celebrate the importance of Leavin’s gift and the UCLA Department of Art to the city’s cultural landscape.

“Right from the start, Margo set the bar high for herself, her gallery and for Los Angeles,” said Lari Pittman, distinguished professor in the Department of Art. “Ambitious and passionately civic-minded, her leadership in cultivating artists and their work put Los Angeles on the international cultural map. Now she leads again with her generous gift to build UCLA’s new graduate studios, sending a message and challenge to all that investing in the education of young artists is the best way to set the bar high, again.”

Designed by Los Angeles-based architectural firm Johnston Marklee and Associates, the new UCLA Margo Leavin Graduate Art Studios will give future generations of artists studying at UCLA a building commensurate with the stature of the program. 

“A new facility means new possibilities, an enhanced capacity for us to make our best work, and a larger affirmation of our developing practices,” said Alex Anderson, M.F.A. candidate. “It means our community will continue to grow for generations.”

The benefit exhibition and sale will take place at 3Labs Studios in Culver City, one block from the UCLA Graduate Art Studios. The exhibition coincides with the semi-annual graduate open studios, an opportunity for the public to visit the studios of the department’s M.F.A. students.


  • Saturday, June 3, 2017, 12 p.m.
    8461 Warner Dr.
    Culver City
  • A ticketed artists’ lunch and preview precedes the public exhibition opening. Digital images of all works will be provided to ticket holders in advance. Individual tickets are $350 and tables cost $3,000
  • Exhibition opens to the public free of charge at 3 p.m.

For more information, call 310-825-2512 or email benefit@arts.ucla.edu.