Congratulations to the class of 2019

This year and every year, we celebrate the achievements of our graduating students with exhibitions, ceremonies, and parties. Here are highlights from 2019’s Commencement Exhibition, ceremonies, and thesis exhibitions and events hosted by our academic programs, including CCA Fashion Experience 2019.

Commencement Exhibition

An expansive range of work from across the college

A  large hallway full of people and colorful art installations.

By a select group of graduating students

The annual Commencement Exhibition on our San Francisco campus is a four-day, interdisciplinary showcase of work by graduating students, representing each of CCA’s academic disciplines: Architecture, Design, Fine Arts, and Humanities and Sciences.

A curator from each discipline chooses a number of their graduating students to receive the prestigious curator’s award. Selected students were awarded a total of $3,000 to conceptualize, make, and present their work during the Commencement Exhibition. This year’s exhibition included site-specific installations throughout the Nave; screenings of work by student animators and filmmakers; and a Humanities and Sciences reading room featuring a collection of written works, including comics, critical writing, poetry, and prose.

The 2019 Commencement Exhibition Large-Scale Nave Installation Grant recipients were: Max DeVore Williams (MFA in Design), Palija Shrestha (MFA in Fine Arts), Helena Cardona (Master of Architecture), Alexander Kozachek and Benner Boswell (MFA in Design), Christopher Holland Brandt (Fashion Design), Carlos Serrano (Master of Architecture), dani lopez and Justin R. Nagle (MFA in Fine Arts), and Gabriela Yoque (MFA in Fine Arts).

Exhibitions at CCA

Instagram post 17850500014583421

Sept. 10, 2019

Amy Tavern, one of the five "Women to Watch" featured in Surfacing Histories Sculpting Memories at the Hubbell Street Galleries this month, is hosting an online exhibition of her own work on her instagram page, @amytavern, this week!⁠

Amy was in residence at the beautiful Bær Art Center in the north of Iceland this summer. Her online exhibition, Blálilja, highlights process and inspiration images, writing, and finished drawings developed during this residency.⁠

Repost @amytavern:⁠

Sunday studio and another glimpse of my Bær online exhibition, which I’ve been preparing for all day... I’m excited to share the title of the show and this collage detail of the same name: “Blálilja/ Blue lily.” Blálilja is one of my favorite plants that I identified while at the residency and its form and colors continue to captivate me. I’ll show the entire collage this coming Tuesday, September 10 when the exhibition begins, along with a picture of the actual plant. (And, if you’re curious, Blálilja is pronounced basically, “bl-ow-lil-ya”.) #blálilja #bluelily #onlineexhibition #exhibition #artistresidency #collage #colorstudy #iceland #heimaerbest #amytavern ⁠

Instagram post 18099549898027009

Sept. 9, 2019

Now that you're back on campus and all settled in, take a few minutes to tour the 2019 Curator's Award Exhibition on the San Francisco Campus! Award-winning work by recent grads from all four divisions (Humanities and Sciences, Architecture, Design, and Fine Arts) is on view on the second floor of 80 Carolina and in the Student Center in the main building.⁠

📷 Alexander Kozachek, "Soaring Machine and Flight Kit," 2019. Aircraft-grade spruce, walnut, Ceconite ultralight fabric, leather soaring machine.⁠

Instagram post 18096630967006149

Sept. 6, 2019

Opening tonight at Fine Ideas and Art on Telegraph Ave. in Oakland: "We Bloomed Here," a group show featuring work by current CCA students and alums, including Berlin Gabrielle Barrera, Eleni Berg, Lindsey Reddick, Maya Djiji, Michael Diamond, and Miki Wang. Also featuring music by: Alai the Guy (Xavier Daniel)!⁣⁠
Opening Night in Oakland’s First Friday⁣⁠
September 6th, 5-9pm⁣⁠
Location: Fine Ideas and Art, 2440 Telegraph Ave. Oakland, CA 94612

@berlingabriellebarrera_art @mayadjiji @eleniberg @lindz.redd @alai.theguy @mikiwiiii @miichae1

Instagram post 17890651408386671

Sept. 5, 2019

Four exhibitions open tonight at the CCA Hubbell Street Galleries in San Francisco, from 5:30-7:30pm!⁣

MFA Fine Arts All-College Honors & Scholarship Awards Exhibition (151 Hubbell)⁣⁣
September 3–19⁣⁣

The Glass Cube Project (131 Hubbell)⁣⁣
September 3–27⁣⁣

Surfacing Histories Sculpting Memories (161 Hubbell)⁣⁣
September 3–October 4⁣⁣

Separation Anxiety (PLAySPACE / 141 Hubbell)⁣⁣
September 5–26⁣⁣

📷 Amy Tavern, "The Ocean is a Universe/The Universe is an Ocean," 2019 (detail). On view in Surfacing Histories Sculpting Memories at 161 Hubbell through October 4

#Repost @amytavern
Tonight “Women to Watch: Surfacing Histories Sculpting Memories” opens! Please join me and fellow artists @lavathomas @juliaannegoodman @sandra_ono_ and @yagrumo_yal from 5:30-7:30pm at CCA’s Hubbell Street Galleries, 161 Hubbell Street in San Francisco... #installation #paper #universe #ocean #parallelworlds
#californiacollegeofthearts ⁠#wtw #womentowatch #nmwa #amytavern


The 112th Commencement

CCA bachelor's and master's degree ceremonies

Honoring 305 undergraduate and 200 graduate students

On May 20 at the Sydney Goldstein Theater, we conferred 305 baccalaureate degrees and 200 master’s degrees. Both ceremonies celebrated the culmination of hard work, persistence, drive, and dedication each student showed in order to earn their degree and prepare for a lifetime of creative achievement. In keeping with the college’s legacy and values, the class of 2019 was a diverse, talented, and passionate group—the youngest graduate was 20 years old, the oldest 68.

CCA President Stephen Beal addressing students at graduation.

President Stephen Beal expresses collegewide pride

In his Commencement speech, CCA President Stephen Beal shared his excitement to watch the students’ futures unfold and highlighted the inspiring work of recent graduates—from Hank Willis Thomas’ (MFA Photography and MA Visual Criticism 2004) work as “America’s great protest artist,” to Megan Moyer’s (MBA Design 2015) career reinventing the patient experience in one of the nation’s largest healthcare systems, to Malachi Trent’s (Furniture 2018) efforts to create a new model for affordable artist living space.

“We’re proud of your accomplishments and eagerly anticipate your future success. We are truly honored to share this moment with you,” Beal said. “At CCA, you’ve learned not only to excel in your specific creative discipline, but also to work as a collaborator, a partner, a teammate—to realize goals that cross disciplines. You’ve learned foundational skills you’ll employ your entire professional life. You’ve been steeped in the CCA ethos to consider the impact of your creative work on the civic, environmental, and cultural life of your community. Tonight, you join the ranks of CCA’s 21,000 living alumni working to make a profound difference through art, architecture, and design practice and study worldwide.”

“We’re proud of your accomplishments and eagerly anticipate your future success. We are truly honored to share this moment with you.”

— President Stephen Beal

Commencement speakers give moving advice

The bachelor’s degree ceremony featured the conferring of CCA’s Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts on Joyce J. Scott, a visual and performance artist and educator, as well as remarks from undergraduate student speaker Mustafaa S. Tajuddin (Interaction Design 2019).

Vinitha Watson (MBA Design Strategy 2010) delivered the Distinguished Alumna Address at the master’s degree ceremony. Watson is an artist, entrepreneur, and design strategist who opened Google’s first office in India, was a fellow at the Institute for the Future, and sits on the board for Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Watson is the founder and executive director of Zoo Labs, the world’s first music accelerator that sits at the intersection of art and business. Graduate student speaker Christina Marie Rodriguez (MBA Design Strategy 2019) delivered student remarks.

“It’s easy to live the length of your life, but don’t forget the width. Explore, make mistakes, do the things that scare you. Live life screaming.”

— Mustafaa S. Tajuddin (Interaction Design 2019), undergraduate student speaker

Special Commencement Week events

Reflecting the diverse world at CCA

As an educational and cultural institution, we provide access and opportunities for all people, with particular attention to supporting groups historically underrepresented in higher education. Special graduation events hosted prior to Commencement celebrate graduating students’ cultural heritages, diverse identities, and successes at CCA and beyond.

A diverse group of people pose together for a photo in front of an old house.

Multicultural Commencement Ceremony

As one of the 10 most diverse colleges in the U.S., CCA’s graduating students reflect the diverse world in which we live, work, and grow. The Multicultural Commencement Ceremony is an opportunity to acknowledge the valuable insights, ideas, and experiences these students contribute to classrooms and communities across campus.

“At the age of 10, I learned that being vulnerable was terrifying. At the age of 30, I learned that vulnerability was opportunity. Your greatest creative work will be the product of your truest vulnerability.”

— Christina Marie Rodriguez (MBA Design Strategy 2019), graduate student speaker

Close-up image of lavender colored ropes with tassels on the end.

Lavender Commencement Ceremony

To honor the inclusive culture and diverse community of CCA, we proudly host the special commencement event Lavender Graduation, a national initiative by the Human Rights Campaign. The annual ceremony recognizes the excellence, achievements, and contributions of LGBTQIA students, faculty, and staff.

Fashion Experience

Collections of vision, identity, and crafting

CCA Fashion Experience 2019

A fashionable, one-night-only celebration

Twelve professionally juried thesis collections from graduating students in the college’s Fashion Design program debuted on May 13 during CCA Fashion Experience 2019.

Students presented their work at Minnesota Street Project with a staircase-style fashion walkway and hyper-tactile portfolio experiences. A walkway of the collections kicked off the public event, and afterward the audience mingled with the designers to view their collections on live models and engage with both the designers’ collections and their work processes. The evening culminated in a peer-decided award for best collection.

“We are incredibly proud of this year’s 12 graduating seniors,” says professor Lynda Grose, chair of the Fashion Design program. “Six students from this senior cohort have been recommended for the upcoming Council of Fashion Designers of America graduate showcase in NYC and several already have professional employment. We look forward to celebrating their success at CCA and beyond.”

Featuring street-cast and professional models, CCA Fashion Experience 2019 reflected the diversity of the Bay Area as well as global contributions to fashion.

Senior Shows + Thesis Exhibitions

New work provides fresh perspective

Senior Thesis Exhibitions

Connecting students to community

Several academic programs showcased student work with thesis exhibitions and events on and off campus in the weeks leading up to Commencement. These experiences offer students a chance to develop professional skills in real-world engagements and presentations, while simultaneously giving the broader Bay Area community an opportunity to see the future of art, design, architecture, and writing.

Programmatic Commencement Week exhibitions

Three students wearing headphones smile as they place blocks onto a light table.

The best of furniture, design, and more

In addition to spaces near the Commencement Exhibition in the San Francisco campus’ Nave, our academic programs’ most exemplary students shared their work with professional and community audiences alike at CCA Hubbell Street Galleries, Minnesota Street Project in the Dogpatch neighborhood, and Gensler’s office in downtown San Francisco, to name a few.

Yomna Osman, the curator of “To Know Herself,” is seen at the Wattis Institute.

Dual-degree graduate student curates Wattis Institute exhibition

Yomna Osman (MA Curatorial Practice and Visual and Critical Studies 2019)) curated the exhibition To Know Herself for the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts in partial fulfillment of a dual degree MA in Curatorial Practice and Visual and Critical Studies. On view throughout April 2019, the exhibition studied the different ways artists are thinking about lesbian bars and the impact of their disappearance—as well as possibilities for their eventual reconstruction. The exhibition included a commissioned performance installation by artist and CCA Provost Tammy Rae Carland, as well as artist Macon Reed’s iconic installation Eulogy for the Dyke Bar (2015).

Accompanying the exhibition, which was presented by the graduate program in Curatorial Practice, was a series of public programs including a salon discussion on how to maintain these spaces in our current moment and film screenings about the impact of gathering spaces on social and political change. A parallel publication, Your Presence is Requested, contained a forward byMA in Curatorial Practice program Chair James Voorhies, a catalog essay by Osman, and contributions from relevant Bay Area artists and writers.

Discover our range of creative practices

View all programs