A distinctive approach to learning through making
Guided by President Stephen Beal, our private nonprofit college offers a rich curriculum of 22 undergraduate and 11 graduate programs, and is noted for its curricular interdisciplinarity, breadth of programs, and commitment to social responsibility. Spread across two distinct campuses in the Bay Area, 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 currently expanding its San Francisco campus with new student housing and a new building by award-winning architecture firm Studio Gang.
Meet President Stephen Beal
Stephen Beal was appointed president of California College of the Arts in May 2008, having served as provost at the college since 1997. As president, he champions CCA’s academic vision to prepare students as creative citizens who bring to their communities innovative problem-solving skills, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a desire to engage issues.
Most recently, Beal led the development of an ambitious multi-year plan to strengthen the CCA experience for future generations of students by unifying the academic program on an expanded San Francisco campus, dramatically increasing on-campus student housing, building the CCA Board of Trustees, and planning for the largest capital campaign in CCA history.
Since taking office, Beal has successfully completed major initiatives, including the $27.5 million Centennial Campaign; national accreditation visits from WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges) and NASAD (National Association of Schools of Art and Design); and the development and implementation of the 2016–2020 collegewide strategic plan extension. Beal has played a significant role in the expansion of the college’s programs and facilities and the implementation of key academic initiatives, all of which contributed to an overall enrollment increase of more than 70% since 2000. Significant improvements to CCA’s existing buildings and development of new facilities during Beal’s tenure include a new student residence facility in Oakland and a new award-winning Graduate Center in San Francisco.
President Beal’s background
Beal holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), where he was vice president of academic planning and associate vice president of academic affairs before coming to CCA. He was the lead academic administrator on the school’s building and facilities projects, which included the acquisition of new property and major renovations of existing facilities. Previous to that he was chair of SAIC's graduate division, chair of its post-baccalaureate program, and a member of the painting faculty.
In addition to his prolific academic career, Beal is a practicing artist whose work has been exhibited nationally, including at renowned galleries such as George Lawson in Los Angeles and New Museum Los Gatos. Beal currently serves on the board of trustees at the Asia Society Northern California in San Francisco and Creative Growth Art Center in Oakland. He also served on the board of trustees at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, and San Francisco Asian Contemporary Art and Design Consortium. He also has been an advisor to the American Film Institute in Los Angeles, Girls Inc. of Alameda County, and the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. He and his wife, Dee Hoover, reside in the East Bay. They have two children.
President's Sustainability Steering Group
The President's Sustainability Steering Group (PSSG) was established in 2009 to identify ways to showcase the college’s ongoing commitment to sustainability and ensure the college's leadership role upholds specific values that govern an eco-conscious approach to learning. Since its formation, the PSSG has significantly heightened the college's overall commitment to sustainability.
PSSG statement of values
The PSSG, which consists of faculty, student, staff, and trustee representation, developed the following values that represent the college's core principles as they pertain to sustainability. These basic tenets are drawn upon frequently to ensure all future growth—curricular, technological, architectural—takes into consideration these best-practice guidelines.
- Minimize harm and optimize benefits to the environment and society in our daily endeavors
- Apply the sustainability values we teach to our students to our facilities, transportation, and purchasing and investing practices
- Provide the tools and resources that motivate our community members to be sustainability leaders
- Draw on and contribute to the resources, knowledge, and initiatives uniquely available in the San Francisco Bay Area
- Foster an academic and operational culture of continuing sustainability innovation
- Identify and promote career opportunities in sustainable practices for our students
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.
M. Arthur Gensler Jr., FAIA, Chair
C. Diane Christensen, Immediate Past Chair
Susan M. Cummins, Vice-Chair
John S. (Jack) Wadsworth Jr., Treasurer
Lorna F. Meyer, Secretary
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
- Julianne Kirgis, Associate Provost
- Dominick Tracy, Associate Provost for Educational Effectiveness
- Keith Krumwiede, Dean of Architecture
- Helen Maria Nugent, Dean of Design
- Allison Smith, Dean of Fine Arts
- Tina Takemoto, Dean of Humanities + Sciences
Senior cabinet and administrative leadership
- Stephen Beal, President
- Tammy Rae Carland, Provost
- Susan Avila, Senior Vice President Advancement
- Scott Cline, Vice President, Enrollment Management + Auxiliary Services
- Mara Hancock, Chief Information Officer
- Noel Knille, Vice President Operations + Campus Planning
- David Meckel, Director of Campus Planning
- Ed Prohaska, Chief Financial Officer
- George Sedano, Vice President Student Affairs
- Ann Wiens, Vice President Marketing + Communications
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’re also adding more housing to accommodate up to 1,000 students. 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.
More student housing
Just two blocks away at 75 Arkansas Street, the college has already 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. At 188 Hooper Street, another new student housing facility designed by Stanley Saitowitz | Natoma Architects, will become home to 500 undergraduate students starting in fall 2020.
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 campuses 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
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.
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.
CCA is diverse and sustainable
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.
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At CCA, we understand Land Acknowledgement 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 Acknowledgement at CCA in order to teach and promote greater public consciousness of Native sovereignty and cultural rights.
Background on CCA’s Land Acknowledgement
CCA’s first official public Land Acknowledgement was delivered in February 2019 by President Stephen Beal at a groundbreaking ceremony for Founders Hall, scheduled to open in fall 2020. Prior to that, Land Acknowledgement had already begun to emerge as a cross-divisional practice in individual courses across CCA.
Land Acknowledgement 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 Acknowledgement 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.)
“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.”
The world will know our name
The college has changed its name three times in 100 years.
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.
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 campuses. 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 102 full-time and 398 part-time faculty 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.