Connecting pedagogy and community
CCA’s galleries support an incredible range of events and exhibitions that highlight work by students, faculty, staff, and visiting artists. All programming exemplifies the college’s commitment to sustainability, social justice, community building, and academic discovery, while enhancing the creative community’s role in Bay Area culture.
As an educational component, the galleries provide space for a diverse array of shows that elevate multiple disciplines and meaningful queries. Several are dedicated primarily to student and faculty produced projects, offering space to connect with peers and develop valuable presentation, curation, and marketing skills in preparation for their professional futures.
Visitors are welcome to join us—all of CCA’s public events and exhibitions are free and open to all. The galleries host exhibition openings, book signings, town hall–style discussions, lectures, and more. Come experience art, design, architecture, and writing happening at CCA; engage in contemporary art discussions; and witness the dynamic work of influential visiting artists, including Wattis Institute’s Capp Street Project artist in residence.
Interdisciplinary talent on view
Bringing CCA work to the fore
CCA galleries support learning that builds bridges between theory and practice by showcasing work by acclaimed and emerging artists and by connecting CCA and the public with opportunities for direct involvement and exchange with the discourses of art today. The Hubbell Street Galleries opened in 2016 to serve as a bridge between CCA and the local community. With art shows and projects often led by faculty or student curators, these teaching galleries engage the exhibition process for research, learning, and community engagement.
These storefront galleries, which include the PLAySPACE graduate student-run gallery, are just one block from CCA’s San Francisco campus near the corner of Hubbell and 16th streets. They feature year-round programming of projects and exhibitions by students, faculty, and visiting artists, and represent the college’s commitment to providing easy access for all community members to experience art and creative exploration.
Oriented toward the academic community
PLAySPACE, an acronym for the Paulette Long and Shepard Pollack Art Community Experiment, is an interdisciplinary space of exhibitions-related experimentation and practical learning for CCA graduate students, located at 141 Hubbell Street in the CCA Hubbell Street Galleries. The program provides the resources for student artists and curators to conceptualize and produce experimental programming while serving as a valuable professional development experience for student directors.
Recent San Francisco art shows
Teaching the exhibition process
The Oliver Art Center Tecoah Bruce Gallery is a 2,200-square-foot gallery space located in the Ralls Painting Studio on the Oakland campus. It’s both a public gallery for students to engage in a deep exploration of ideas and an educational site for faculty to emphasize practice through guided challenges and critique.
Among the work on view throughout the year are senior exhibitions that undergraduate students plan, promote, and install during their last semester at CCA. During these shows, students self-curate their strongest body of work and celebrate the culmination of their academic education through critique and public events.
Featuring work from students, faculty, and staff
Isabelle Percy West Gallery is a 590-square-foot public gallery located on the mezzanine level of Nahl Hall on the Oakland campus. This intimate space accommodates student work and senior exhibition projects from across CCA’s diverse programs, as well as art shows by staff, faculty, and other community members from the college.
A pioneering namesake
The Isabelle Percy West Gallery is named in honor of Isabelle Clark Percy West, an interdisciplinary artist who helped build CCA in the early 1900s. West worked in oil, pastel, watercolor, and color lithography, and her art was honored in the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition. She served as a professor of design until her retirement in 1941, when the college presented her the Isabelle Percy West Gallery as a tribute to her dedication to art and design education and her influential work in creating CCA.
Recent Oakland art shows
Discover art discourses of today
CCA established the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts in 1998 as a forum for the discussion and presentation of leading-edge art and culture. The Wattis Institute works with artists in two distinct ways: as an exhibition space and a research institute. It also collaborates with students and faculty members in multidisciplinary programs at CCA, including the Curatorial Practice, Fine Arts, and Visual and Critical Studies graduate programs.
Space for artists to experiment and take risks
The Wattis supports artists who take risks and experiment with new ideas. It commissions and shows new work by established, emerging, and under-recognized artists who challenge how we understand the art of our current moment. We ask artists: What are you making now, and what do you want to make next?
The Wattis has highlighted the work of local artists, providing them with important visibility, and also introduced major international artists to American audiences with their first solo shows in the U.S. Additionally, the gallery hosts the final project of each graduating class in CCA’s Curatorial Practice graduate program and thematic shows that have gone on to travel to other major art institutions and events, including MoMA PS1, Künstlerhaus Stuttgart, ICA Philadelphia, Madame Luxembourg, and Kunsthalle Basel, among others.
Recent monographic exhibitions include:
- Diamond Stingily: Doing the Best I Can
- Rosha Yaghmai: Miraclegrow
- Adam Linder: Full Service
- Ken Lum: What’s Old is Old for a Dog
- Henrik Olesen: The Walk
- Melanie Gilligan: Parts-wholes
- Howard Fried: Derelicts
- Laura Owens: Ten Paintings
- Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys: Tram 3
- Josephine Pryde: Lapses in Thinking by the Person I Am
- K.r.m. Mooney: En, set
- Sam Lewitt: More Heat Than Light
- Ellen Cantor: Cinderella Syndrome
Year-long research dedicated to one artist
At the heart of the Wattis’ role as a research institute is a commitment to working with artists slowly, one at a time, and in-depth. The Wattis dedicates an entire year to reflect and focus on the work of a single artist. These year-long research seasons inform a series of public programs, publications, and an intimate reading group, composed of CCA faculty members, local artists, art historians, students, and the field’s most prominent artists and thinkers.
Allowing for this sustained period of attention makes space to consider how a single artist’s body of work speaks to broader questions about art, culture, and society today, while simultaneously creating a framework to explore a diverse and varied ecosystem of related artists and ideas.
Recent seasons investigated the work of:
The Capp Street Artist-in-Residence
The Wattis also hosts an annual Capp Street Artist-in-Residence, one of the earliest and longest-running artist-in-residence programs in the country, founded in 1983 by Ann Hatch as Capp Street Project and incorporated into the Wattis Institute in 1998. Each year, an artist comes to live and work in San Francisco for a semester, teaches a graduate seminar at CCA, and presents an exhibition. Since its inception, Capp Street Project has given more than 100 local, national, and international artists the opportunity to create new work through its residency and public exhibition programs. View the Capp Street Project archives
Recent Capp Street resident artists include:
San Francisco galleries
The Hubbell Street Galleries, which include PLAySPACE, are located between 16th and 7th streets, about one block east of the San Francisco campus’ main Montgomery Building. The Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts is a seven-minute walk from campus, west on 16th Street and south on Kansas Street.
The Oliver Art Center is in the Ralls Painting Studio near the center of Oakland campus and is easiest to get to off Clifton Street. Isabelle Percy West is on the mezzanine level of Nahl Hall, which is located next to Meyer Library in the southeast corner of campus.