Otis College of Art and Design logo
  • Otis Fine Arts hosts a Visiting Artist lecture series featuring John Houck, a Los Angeles-based artist. Read more about him here.
    Contact: Soo Kim, skim@otis.edu
  • Jesse Benson (b. 1978) is an artist based in Los Angeles. Benson's complex practice is driven by the perversion of roles and representation that characterize his generational moment. In obsessively "skillful" objects like the Bureau Paintings, Catalog Page Paintings, Future Sculptures, and Repaintings, Benson constantly questions the authenticity of the document, the function of style, and the value of both art and artist. Benson is equally committed to a curatorial/organizational practice that openly overlaps and inspires his object production.

  • The Architecture/Landscape/Interiors Department at OTIS College of Art and Design is pleased to announce a lecture by Nick SeierupPrincipal | Design Director of Perkins+Will, Los Angeles, on Thursday, December 3, 2015.


  • Marisa Silver is the author most recently of the New York Times bestselling novel Mary Coin. Her other books include the novels No Direction Home and The God of War (a finalist for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize), as well as two story collections, Babe in Paradise and Alone with You. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker and been included in many anthologies, including The Best American Short Stories and The O. Henry Prize Stories. Silver lives in Los Angeles.

  • Jesse Lerner is a filmmaker based in Los Angeles.  His short films Natives (1991, with Scott Sterling), T.S.H. (2004) and Magnavoz (2006) and the feature-length experimental documentaries Frontierland/Fronterilandia (1995, with Rubén Ortiz-Torres), Ruins (1999) The American Egypt (2001), Atomic Sublime (2010) and The Absent Stone (2013, with Sandra Rozental) have won numerous prizes at film festivals in the United States, Latin America and Japan.

  • Otis faculty member Dana Berman Duff will present a program of short 16mm and digital films in her "Catalogue" series.

  • Performing the Grid is an exhibition that brings together an intergenerational group of artists and cultural producers that utilize the grid as a performative strategy to examine, challenge and position philosophical, political, social, domestic, corporeal, and mythical perspectives. Rosalind Kraus famously wrote that the grid “functions to declare the modernity of modern art” in her 1979 essay, Grids.


Laton Live


Press Contact: Sheri Mobley (323) 668-0874





Los Angeles-based Otis College Creates Public Art Together with Residents of Laton, CA 
Laton LIVE! on March 21 To Showcase Creative Collaboration

LOS ANGELES, CA, March 2, 2009 -- A small farming community in the San Joaquin Valley is the focus of a multidisciplinary art and design project developed by Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles.  Laton, California will be the subject of a unique art installation - celebrating the town and its residents - premiering on March 21, 2009.

Led by Suzanne Lacy, noted artist, author and Chair of the Otis  Graduate Public Practice program, Otis students traveled to Laton in August 2008 to explore how art could support local agendas and contribute to the small and struggling rural community.  The San Joaquin Valley is known for having some of the highest poverty and school drop-out rates in the nation, as well as poor air quality.  Lacy, born and raised in the San Joaquin Valley, was familiar with both the problems and opportunities in the Central Valley.  Consuelo Velasco, Manager of Otis Graduate Public Practice, grew up on a small farm in Laton and has focused her own Master’s research on art in rural contexts.

Otis students accustomed to life in a large metropolitan area found them selves examining global problems in an unfamiliar rural setting.  “This is an immersion course leading our students to a consideration of the cultural, economic and identity issues in one of the most misunderstood and “invisible” areas of the Golden State,” said Samuel Hoi, President of Otis College of Art and Design. 

Working with Laton residents (population 1,200), local organizations, and public schools, Otis students and faculty identified two important concerns: supporting youth in civic engagement, and building community pride.  The collaboration resulted in art projects that will soon be seen all over town, including:

Signs of Welcome 

When Otis student Bosuel Kim arrived in America, the first town she saw outside of Los Angeles was Laton.  After meeting Laton High School Metal Shop teacher Dale Costa, she learned that the     Welcome to Laton sign had been removed by vandals, and she set to work designing a unique new sign, now under construction by high school students.  

Picturing Laton
A series of photographic projects are in motion, including free family portraits taken at Christmas by Otis student Shatto Light. Raul Vega, Los Angeles-based fashion and celebrity photographer, is also     working to create a series of portraits of local residents.  Vega, born and raised in nearby Reedley, California, says “Now that I’ve been away I have a different perspective. I can see an austere beauty in Laton, a naturalness between the people and the land, creative people with vision and good intentions.“

Painting the Town 
Enlivening the center of Laton, student and muralist Roberto Del Hoyo has decided to literally paint the town. Local merchants are cooperating in the colorful “face lift,” all done by volunteer labor. In exchange, local residents are given coupons for exchange at another artist/community project, the Laton Free Store.

The Town is a Stage

“If there is a blank wall on the main street, expect it to be alive with large scale scenes of life in Laton, from dancing to cooking, working to welcoming,” says Kate Johnson, Otis faculty member and video producer who is working with students and residents on a site-specific installation: 8 wall- sized video projections of Laton residents who are, in effect, opening their doors to the surrounding region. 

The culmination of this public practice project is a free, one-time art event, Laton LIVE!, to be held in downtown Laton at sundown on March 21, 2009.  Laton’s main street will be closed to traffic, and the two-block-long downtown will be transformed with lights, live music, art displays and food, including a local favorite - grilled Portuguese sausage.  In addition, the Lions Club will sell tickets to the Laton Rodeo, and the all-volunteer fire department will celebrate its 100 Year Anniversary.

“In the face of the Wall Street meltdown, the help-your-neighbor values of rural life and the resiliency of local Main Streets gives us hope,” says Lacy of the project.  “We are getting as much, or more, out of this association as the residents,” says Otis student Nathalie Sanchez, who has worked with farm workers near Bakersfield as part of an earlier college service project.  “Through programs like this, students learn how to address complex social relationships—after all, creativity is an important part of community development.”

Otis Connects: San Joaquin Valley is part of Otis College’s Public Practice Graduate Program and the Integrated Learning Program. The San Joaquin Valley project has been partially funded by a planning grant from the Ford Foundation.

Otis Connects: San Joaquin Valley is part of Otis College’s Public Practice Graduate Program and the Integrated Learning Program.  The San Joaquin Valley project has been partially funded by a planning grant from the Ford Foundation.




Established in 1918, Otis College of Art and Design is a national leader in art and design education. The College mission is to prepare diverse students of art and design to enrich our world through their creativity, skill, and vision. Alumni and faculty are Fulbright, MacArthur, and Guggenheim grant recipients, Oscar awardees, legendary costume designers, leaders of contemporary art movements, and design stars at Apple, Abercrombie & Fitch, Adobe, Pixar, DreamWorks, Mattel, Nike, and Disney.

Otis enrolls approximately 1,100 full-time students, and offers Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in Architecture/Landscape/Interiors, Digital Media (Game and Entertainment Design, Animation, and Motion Design), Fashion Design, Communication Arts (Graphic Design, Illustration, and Advertising Design), Fine Arts (Painting, Photography, and Sculpture/New Genres), Product Design, and Toy Design.  Otis also awards the Master of Fine Arts degree in Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Public Practice, and Writing.

The five-acre main campus is located on L.A.’s Westside near the beach and LAX; the Graduate Studios are in nearby Culver City, and in the 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica.

2,700 adults and children participate in Continuing Education art and design classes and workshops.