Gail Rich Award
Artist, collaborator, salesman, curator, idea man, hustler, fixer, midwife to the very scene that inspires all those Keep Santa Cruz Weird’ bumper stickers: You can call Kirby Scudder all those things and more. A refugee of the 1990s dot-com bust, Kirby has lived a dozen lifetimes since moving to Santa Cruz in 2003. He was the artist who created the enormous papier-mache cows in the early days of the Salz Tannery art project, at the same time, opening art galleries in several downtown spaces in an effort to create a welcoming environment for edgy visual arts. He set up spotlights along West Cliff Drive as a commemoration to the ideal of world peace. He established the First Friday Art Tour, a prominent event on the local arts calendar, and curated shows at the Attic, the Mill Gallery and the Dead Cow Gallery. As the resident visionary at the Dead Cow and the director of the Santa Cruz Institute of Contemporary Art, Kirby has also become the symbol of the emerging Tannery Arts Center and worked closely with the city to create a vibrant Santa Cruz scene, one crazy project at a time.