CCA attracts promising students from around the world who want to attend one of the best art and design schools in the U.S. We educate talented, visionary students to become versatile makers with inventive solutions to advance culture and society.

A distinctive approach to learning through making

Our private nonprofit college offers a rich curriculum of 22 undergraduate and 10 graduate programs, and is noted for its curricular interdisciplinarity, breadth of programs, and commitment to social responsibility. With our San Francisco campus as their home base and the entire city as their extended campus, students experience immersive, interdisciplinary exposure that emphasizes theory and practice, helping them to gain the creative confidence and entrepreneurial skills needed for contemporary creative practice.

Graduates are highly sought after by companies such as Pixar/Disney, Apple, Intel, Facebook, Gensler, Google, IDEO, Autodesk, Mattel, and Nike. Many alumni have launched their own successful businesses, and alumni work is featured in major collections such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, MoMA New York, Guggenheim Museum, Whitney Museum, SFMOMA, The National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., The Library of Congress, and Tate Modern in London.

Founded in 1907 by Frederick Meyer, CCA is investing in the future by expanding its San Francisco campus with new student housing and a new building by award-winning architecture firm Studio Gang.


Expanding art and design education

Portrait of President David Howse.

President David C. Howse.

Meet President David C. Howse

David Howse is the 10th president of California College of the Arts (CCA). With a focus on leveraging current institutional momentum, he is dedicated to advancing the college's goal of expanding visibility, reach, and impact.

Before assuming the role of president, Howse served as Vice President of the Office of the Arts at Emerson College in Boston and concurrently as the Executive Director of ArtsEmerson. Howse has dedicated over two decades to strategic visioning, fundraising, and community building within arts organizations, particularly in educational settings. At Emerson College, Howse spearheaded fundraising efforts, securing over $40 million to support core programs and establish innovative initiatives like the Gaining Ground Fund.

In recognition of his significant contributions to the arts and cultural diplomacy, Howse was honored with the title of Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government in November 2023.


Trustees of CCA

Dedicated to the legacy and longevity of CCA

The Board of Trustees works to ensure that CCA pursues its mission as defined in its governing document. The board’s responsibilities include giving fit strategic direction to CCA; setting overall policy; helping define goals, set targets, and evaluate performance; ensuring the financial stability of CCA; and safeguarding the good name and values of CCA.

Board officers

  • Lorna Meyer Calas, Chair
  • C. Diane Christensen, Past Chair
  • Susan M. Cummins, Vice-Chair
  • Kenneth M. Novack, Vice-Chair
  • John S. (Jack) Wadsworth Jr., Treasurer
  • F. Noel Perry, Secretary


In class, on campus, and beyond

Academic leadership

CCA believes in fostering the artistic and academic achievements of all faculty, and we work to ensure a learning environment defined by its evolving, contemporary curriculum and powerfully effective pedagogy. Read about CCA’s assessment and accreditation.

  • Tammy Rae Carland, Provost
  • Dominick Tracy, Associate Provost for Educational Effectiveness
  • Ayana Richardson, DBA, Vice President, Academic Operations
  • Keith Krumwiede, Dean of Architecture
  • Helen Maria Nugent, Dean of Design
  • Sunny A. Smith, Dean of Fine Arts
  • Jacqueline Francis, Ph.D., Dean of Humanities & Sciences

Read more about our Faculty Governance and Union.

President's Cabinet

CCA’s President's Cabinet is primarily focused on providing strategic guidance and advice to the President on overarching institutional goals and initiatives. It serves as a forum for discussing and prioritizing strategic vision, departmental goals, and critical issues facing the college community. The Cabinet also reviews cross-departmental initiatives with campuswide impact and offers input on strategy to stakeholders across the college.

This is not a decision-making body; rather, we assemble in the spirit of shared leadership to address opportunities and collectively problem-solve institutional challenges. Cabinet members embody servant leadership, attentively listening to our constituents, and channeling their insights into productive actions to effectively execute CCA's goals and objectives.

The current membership of the President's Cabinet includes:

  • Rachel Berger, Faculty Senate President
  • Tricia Brand, Vice President, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB)
  • Tammy Rae Carland, Provost
  • Scott Cline, Ed.D., Senior Vice President, Enrollment Management and Auxiliary Services
  • Jacqueline Francis, Ph.D., Dean of Humanities & Sciences
  • Jeanne Gerrity, Deputy Director and Head of Publications, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts (temporary)
  • Suzanne Greva, Vice President, Finance, Accounting and Business Services & Treasurer
  • Remy Hathaway, Acting Chief Financial Officer
  • Mara Hancock, Acting Chief Operating Officer
  • Barbara Jones, Senior Director, Campaign and Advancement Services/Acting Co-Associate Vice President, Advancement (temporary)
  • Keith Krumwiede, Dean of Architecture
  • Maira Lazdins, Vice President, Human Resources
  • Adriana Lopez Lobovits, Ed.D., Director of the President's Office
  • Daisy Nam, Director and Chief Curator, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts
  • Helen Maria Nugent, Dean of Design
  • Ayana Richardson, DBA, Vice President, Academic Operations
  • Carolyn Salcido, Senior Director, Individual Giving/Acting Co-Associate Vice President, Advancement (temporary)
  • Leigh Sata, Ed.D., Vice President, Operations and Capital Projects
  • George Sedano, Vice President, Student Affairs
  • Stephanie Smith, Associate Vice President, Content and Creative Strategy
  • Sunny A. Smith, Dean of Fine Arts
  • Lindsay Wright, Director, Integrated Communications
  • Vacant, Chief Financial Officer
  • Vacant, Vice President, Advancement


Campus expansion

Connecting our community in one location

CCA is creating a new educational experience by expanding its San Francisco campus to include state-of-the-art teaching facilities for all of our programs. We’ve also added more housing to accommodate students in our living, learning laboratory. What began as an ambitious vision will soon be a porous, creative environment that supports all kinds of learning and making.

A historical decision

In 2006, CCA embarked on a journey to define its future with a singular goal in mind—enriching and enhancing the student experience. A series of intensive research and reflection workshops, visioning sessions, and countless meetings led to the development of a strategy that aimed to dream big, cultivate diversity, foster excellence, connect communities, and lead responsibly. The result is an action plan that amplifies the culturally inclusive and passionately creative CCA experience.

Students ordering food at Maker's Cafe

More student housing

Opened in fall 2020, Founders Hall, designed by Stanley Saitowitz | Natoma Architects and located in the heart of the campus, is home to more than 500 students and the Makers Cafe dining hall. Just two blocks away on Arkansas Street, the college recently opened Blattner Hall, a new housing facility featuring 200 apartment-style units for CCA graduate and continuing students, thanks to the generosity of CCA Trustee Simon Blattner.


CCA is a place of ingenuity and originality

Our students create cultural transformation

California College of the Arts educates students to shape culture and society through the practice and critical study of art, architecture, design, and writing. Benefiting from its San Francisco Bay Area location, the college prepares students for lifelong creative work by cultivating innovation, community engagement, and social and environmental responsibility.


As an educational and cultural institution, CCA believes in fostering the artistic and academic excellence of our students and faculty.

  • We cultivate intellectual curiosity and risk-taking, collaboration and innovation, compassion and integrity
  • As a global citizen and good neighbor, CCA believes in its role as a proponent of social justice and community engagement
  • We promote diversity on our campus by improving access and opportunities for underrepresented groups, and we see this endeavor as vitally enriching for everyone
  • We value sustainability and believe that as a school of the arts we have a unique ability and an ethical responsibility to shape a culture that is more environmentally responsible
  • We understand the importance of creative economies and the role of artists, designers, architects, and writers in solving social, cultural, environmental, and economic problems

Diversity Goals

A central theme of CCA's five-year strategic plan is to cultivate diversity by accomplishing the following three goals through a series of initiatives.

Increase racial, socioeconomic, and global diversity among students, staff, faculty, and trustees

  • Advertise positions in resources specifically aimed at professional communities of color
  • Include specific language in job postings that encourages diverse and culturally competent applicants
  • Increase visibility through faculty and staff of color fellowship with institutional resources to support meetings and activities
  • Commit additional resources for potential opportunity hires for successful candidates of color
  • Explore collaborating with our AICAD partners on a “grow your own” visiting-faculty program (e.g., a “post-MFA” fellowship for new faculty of color)
  • Increase diversity scholarships for students
  • Create partnerships with local feeder schools to improve outreach to potential students of color and foster a successful pipeline through recruitment to retention, success, and graduation
  • Foster mentoring/outreach between students and faculty of color; create a faculty mentor to students of color position

Develop our pedagogy and curriculum to reflect social and cultural diversity

  • Explore ways to include cultural competency and literacy in beginning-level required courses
  • Launch and support the ENGAGE at CCA program that strengthens CCA’s values of community partnership and social justice
  • Organize a diversity curriculum committee of faculty leaders who can oversee the enhancement of diversity in the curriculum and sponsor diversity pedagogy training
  • Provide training for faculty that addresses incorporating diversity into their curricula, working with a diverse group of students, and adopting transformative pedagogies
  • Conduct "state of affairs" survey to get a good sense of where/how diversity currently exists in the major curricula
  • Provide rewards for faculty (line release, curriculum development grants) to diversify their courses

Build a campus community that supports and values diversity

  • Develop a diversity news and resources section on the college website
  • Explore hiring a chief diversity officer who will ensure a continued focus on and improvement in diversity in all areas
  • Enhance the Center Student Grant program to incentivize students who are working on projects connected to social justice and diversity
  • Form ongoing student affinity/identity groups and provide adequate institutional support
  • Make diversity a priority outside of targeted diversity programming, while also continuing to build specific diversity events and symposia
  • Create more comfortable gathering spaces to encourage organic community building
  • Create a required cultural competency training for all staff (especially focusing on student services staff, counselors, and advisors) and faculty
  • Ensure all orientations (student, faculty, staff, and trustees) include introductory conversations about community standards and diversity

Sustainability goals

As a college of art and design, CCA has an ethical responsibility to shape a culture that’s environmentally responsible. Our students are the people who will be creating the objects, environments, and experiences of the future. We actively work toward sustainability in design, construction, operations, and curriculum.

To catalyze the learning opportunities inherent in our new San Francisco campus, CCA will expand and enrich its sustainability curriculum to involve all academic programs, and the campus itself will serve as a laboratory for sustainable practice, where makers can experiment and innovate. Learning will happen everywhere and will be visible to all.

The college has outlined ambitious sustainability objectives, including strategies for the following:

  • Water and energy generation, usage, and conservation
  • Healthy air quality
  • Environmentally safe artmaking materials and practices

Since its opening in 1999, CCA’s San Francisco campus has been a paradigm of sustainability, and in 2001 it received a COTE Top Ten Green Building designation. Our intention is for CCA’s new, reconfigured campus to function at an even higher level of sustainability by serving as a learning center with its sustainability performance visible and understandable to the students, faculty, staff, and others who will use it. Studio Gang and the college are working with environmental experts from the Rocky Mountain Institute and Atelier Ten to help achieve these goals.

Creative Citizens in Action

The Creative Citizens in Action (CCA@CCA) initiative provides important resources to the CCA community to power dialogue and making related to creative activism. The connected programming explores art, democratic engagement, and current affairs through public events, exhibitions, grant opportunities, voting resources, and connections to the classroom.

CCA@CCA is overseen by the Exhibitions and Public Programming department in partnership with Student Affairs, as well as libraries, academic divisions, communications, and faculty.

A 21st century art and design education

Through coursework rooted in the many facets of a studio practice, a rigorous general education curriculum, and enriching co-curricular experiences, students prepare for a lifetime of creating work that matters. Our learning outcomes ensure graduates demonstrate the perceptual acuity, conceptual understanding, and technical facility sufficient for them to begin work on a professional level.

Your right to know

We’re required to provide current and prospective students with an overview of information, including general information about the college, financial aid, public safety, and copyright infringement.

Land Acknowledgment

CCA is situated on the traditional unceded lands of the Ohlone peoples

At CCA, we understand Land Acknowledgment as a transformative act meant to confront our place on Native Lands and to build mindfulness of our present participation in colonial legacies. As CCA faculty, staff, and students, we affirm our responsibility to amplify Indigenous voices, we stand in solidarity with local Indigenous communities, and we respect local Indigenous protocol. We practice Land Acknowledgment at CCA in order to teach and promote greater public consciousness of Native sovereignty and cultural rights.

Background on CCA’s Land Acknowledgment

CCA’s first official public Land Acknowledgment was delivered in February 2019 by President Stephen Beal at a groundbreaking ceremony for Founders Hall. Prior to that, Land Acknowledgment had already begun to emerge as a cross-divisional practice in individual courses across CCA.

Land Acknowledgment is a formal statement that recognizes and respects Indigenous Peoples as traditional stewards of this land and the enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous Peoples and their traditional territories.

This Land Acknowledgment was collectively authored by the CCA Decolonial School and in dialogue with CCA Indigenous consultant Kanyon CoyoteWoman Sayers-Roods (CEO of Kanyon Konsulting, Founder of Indian Canyon Two-Spirit Society, Cultural Director and COO of Costanoan Indian Research, and Cultural Representative and Native Monitor for Indian Canyon Mutsun Band of Costanoan Ohlone People.)


Where craftsmanship and innovation thrive

A legacy of forward-thinking making

CCA was founded in 1907 by Frederick Meyer to provide an education for artists and designers that would integrate both theory and practice in the arts. Meyer, a cabinetmaker in his native Germany, was involved with the Arts and Crafts movement and immigrated to San Francisco in 1902. Here, he established a cabinet shop and taught at the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art. Shortly after the 1906 earthquake and fire destroyed both his shop and the institute, Meyer publicly articulated his dream of a school that would fuse the practical and ideal goals of the artist.

Meyer founded the School of the California Guild of Arts and Crafts in Berkeley with $45 in cash, 43 students, three classrooms, and three teachers. In 1922, he bought the four-acre James Treadwell estate at Broadway and College Avenue in Oakland. The Oakland campus witnessed much new construction after World War II, and the college established a presence in San Francisco starting in the 1980s, using leased space for its architecture and design programs; the tremendous growth of those departments inspired the establishment in 1996 of a permanent campus in the Potrero Hill neighborhood, which continues to grow.

Integration of theory and practice

The Arts and Crafts movement originated in Europe during the late 19th century as a response to the industrial aesthetics of the machine age. Followers of the movement advocated an integrated approach to art, design, and craft. Meyer’s Arts and Crafts-inspired vision continues to present day CCA.

Throughout its 100-year-plus history, CCA has continued to add undergraduate and graduate programs in the core disciplines of fine art, design, architecture, and humanities and sciences. The open layout of each campus positions students in proximity to other media, providing myriad opportunities to generate hybrid fields of study and new ways of making through creative adjacencies, and the curriculum explores the full spectrum of theory, practice, and creation.

Rooted in social activism and engagement

CCA has always engaged art and design to impact larger societal issues and facilitated opportunities for students to make powerful contributions to the social good. The Center for Art and Public Life opened in 1998 on the former Oakland campus as a specific response to the need for community-based arts programming, and it continues to expand and enhance its activities. That same year, the college established the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts on the San Francisco campus as a forum for the discussion and presentation of leading-edge art and culture.

CCA’s alumni are agents of change. The accomplishments of our recent alumni are varied and far-reaching—creating characters for animated Pixar films, exhibiting work at the Cannes and Sundance film festivals, creating an Oscar-winning documentary film, and using design strategy to improve healthcare in America, among many other stories of using art and design to change the world.

“As the role of creativity throughout our society and economy is increasingly recognized, CCA’s founding ideals have never been more relevant. Artists, architects, designers, and writers have become leaders in a culture that relies on a combined expansion of technological innovation and creative content.”

— Stephen Beal

Former CCA President

The world will know our name

The college has changed its name three times in 100 years.

1907: School of the California Guild of Arts and Crafts

In Berkeley, Meyer founded the School of the California Guild of Arts and Crafts with the ceramicist Rosa Taussig and the artist Perham W. Nahl. Meyer’s wife, Laetitia, was the school secretary. Talented designer Isabelle Percy West joined the faculty that fall.

1908: California School of Arts and Crafts

Meyer changed the name after the first year, and research has not turned up a reason.

1936: California College of Arts and Crafts

The school was incorporated as a nonprofit institution and granted collegiate status in 1922; however, it was still referred to as California School of Arts and Crafts in printed materials until 1936, when it became California College of Arts and Crafts.

2003: California College of the Arts

Recognizing the breadth of the college's programs, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to change the name to California College of the Arts.

Key historical milestones

  • 1906: Following the destruction of his home and workshop in the San Francisco earthquake, German-born cabinetmaker and art teacher Frederick H. Meyer speaks at a meeting of the local Arts and Crafts Society about his idea for a new "practical art school."
  • 1907: Frederick Meyer establishes the School of the California Guild of Arts and Crafts in the Studio Building on Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley. Initial faculty salaries range from $40 to $60 per month.
  • 1908: The school is renamed California School of Arts and Crafts and graduates its first class of five students. Many of these graduates had been students of Meyer's at the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art in San Francisco. Having outgrown its location, the school moves to 2130 Center Street in Berkeley.
  • 1910: The school moves again to 2119 Allston Way, site of the old Berkeley High School.
  • 1922: With enrollment increasing following the influx of veterans of World War I, Meyer searches for a permanent home for the college. He purchases the four-acre James Treadwell estate in Oakland for $60,000. For the next four years, Meyer leads a crew of student, faculty, and alumni to transform the rundown estate into a campus. The Meyer family moves into the top floor of the Treadwell mansion (now called Macky Hall).
  • 1926: The school completes its move to the new campus at 5212 Broadway, where it remains today.
  • 1968: Two major buildings on Oakland campus are completed. Founders Hall, honoring Frederick and Laetitia Meyer, Isabelle Percy West, and Perham Nahl, houses the library, media center, and classrooms. Martinez Hall, honoring teacher Xavier Martinez, houses the painting and printmaking programs.
  • 1973: The Noni Eccles Treadwell Ceramic Arts Center opens.
  • 1977: Macky Hall is placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • 1985: First Apple computers arrive on campus.
  • 1987: Design and architecture programs move to leased space on 17th Street in San Francisco.
  • 1989: The Oliver Art Center, including the 3,500-square-foot Tecoah Bruce Galleries, opens on the Oakland campus.
  • 1995: The college launches the comprehensive Campaign for CCAC to raise funds for the renovation of a new San Francisco campus and programmatic initiatives. The college purchases a building in lower Potrero Hill to create new permanent San Francisco campus.
  • 1996: First phase of the renovation of the new San Francisco campus completed. Design and architecture programs move to new building.
  • 1998: The college establishes the Institute for Exhibitions and Public Programs, now called CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts. Noted artist residency program Capp Street Project becomes part of the Institute for Exhibitions and Public Programs. Center for Art and Public Life is established.
  • 1999: The college celebrates the completion of the San Francisco campus with an opening gala. The new 160,000-square-foot campus includes the Logan Galleries, the Tecoah Bruce Galleries, individual studio spaces for graduate students, Simpson Library, Timken Hall, instructional studios and classrooms, and academic and administrative office space.
  • 2001: Institute for Exhibitions and Public Programs is renamed Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts in honor of philanthropist Phyllis Wattis.
  • 2002: New student housing facility Clifton Hall opens on Oakland campus.
  • 2003: Center for Art and Public Life receives $5 million endowment—largest gift in history of the college. Reflecting the breadth of its programs, the college changes its name to California College of the Arts. New Graduate Center opens on San Francisco campus.
  • 2008: The college completes the $27.5 million Centennial Campaign to fund financial aid endowment, facilities improvements, and academic programs.
  • 2011: The college purchases a two-and-a-half-acre (approximately 102,000 square feet) vacant lot from Greyhound Lines, Inc. in the Mission Bay area of San Francisco for future growth.
  • 2016: The college announces plans to expand its campus in San Francisco and selects Studio Gang to design the new campus.
  • 2018: Blattner Hall opens at 75 Arkansas Street near San Francisco campus. CCA has more student housing than ever before. Construction begins at 188 Hooper, the future residence hall for 500 students.

A community of art and design giants

CCA faculty and alumni have been on the forefront of seminal art movement over the last 50 years. We instigated the ceramics revolution of the 1960s, which established that medium as a fine art; pushed forward the photorealist movement of the 1970s; led the Bay Area Figurative art movement; and made prominent work in Conceptual art, minimalist sculpture, painting, film, and contemporary graphic and product design.

Notable CCA alumni and past faculty

  • Robert Arneson
  • Robert Bechtle
  • Squeak Carnwath
  • Rob Epstein
  • Viola Frey
  • Neil Grimmer
  • David Ireland
  • Wolfgang Lederer
  • John McCracken
  • Richard McLean
  • Manuel Neri
  • Toyin Ojih Odutola
  • Nathan Oliveira
  • Dennis Oppenheim
  • Lucille Tenazas
  • Hank Willis Thomas
  • Michael Vanderbyl
  • Martin Venezky
  • Peter Voulkos
  • Wayne Wang

Today’s CCA faculty are influential scholars and expert practitioners in their fields, helping CCA become one of the best art schools in the U.S. today. The college draws top faculty from the region’s flourishing professional communities in architecture, business, design, writing, and the arts. Many of our faculty members work for leading Bay Area companies such as Apple, Gensler, Google, LucasArts, and Pixar, and many of them are principals of their own firms in architecture, consulting, design, animation, or film.

The list of their awards, accolades, and publications is staggering. They have won Academy Awards, Fulbright fellowships, the Rome Prize, the MacArthur Award, Emmys, Guggenheim fellowships, AIGA medals, and more.


Excel as a professional

In a hub of curiosity and change

CCA is an equal opportunity employer. Our greatest asset is our talented community that collaborates and innovates from our San Francisco Bay Area campus. CCA is ideally positioned so all who work here can uphold social and environmental responsibility through creative practice.

Work at CCA

Join top-notch faculty and one of the most diverse faculty cohorts of all AICAD schools. CCA’s 90 full-time and 320 part-time faculty (as of fall 2022) are accomplished educators, academics, practitioners, and researchers whose breadth and depth of expertise inspires students to take creative risks in the pursuit of purposeful work.

We also have full- and part-time opportunities available for staff, as well as work-study and other campus jobs for students so they can earn financial support and job skills while attending art school in San Francisco.

CCA’s creative culture is rooted in our vibrant and inclusive community

Discover your future home