Posted on Monday, November 15, 2004 by Brenda Tucker
Beginning in fall 2005, California College of the Arts (CCA) will be the first art school to offer a Bachelors of Fine Arts Program (BFA) in community arts. An interdisciplinary program, the BFA in Community Arts focuses on community-based arts practice and theory, with an emphasis on service learning, civic engagement and issues in diversity.
The program draws on the rich resources of the CCA Center for Art and Public Life, which creates community partnerships based on creative practice that serve the college and the diverse population of Oakland and San Francisco. Through courses in the Community Arts Program, students will have the opportunity to apply what they learn in the classroom to numerous community settings established through the Center, such as public schools, health centers, non-profit community organizations, museums, cultural centers and neighborhoods. Examples include Children's Hospital, Creative Growth Art Center, the National Institute of Art and Disabilities, Studio One Art Center, Creative Arts Charter School and the Oakland Museum.
"This program is unique because it challenges students to be active participants in society by exploring and practicing the integration of art and social change. As artist citizens, we find creative solutions to political, social and economic issues in urban, rural and global communities. In the last ten years, art practice has changed considerably. While at one time being an artist meant a more solitary way of life, many artists today are seeking direct involvement with their communities. By lending the skills and knowledge of their professions to community organizations, service providers, cultural institutions and government agencies, they are active agents for social engagement and change," says Sonia BasSheva Mañjon, director of the Center for Art and Public Life and chair of diversity studies at CCA.
The community arts curriculum combines coursework in the humanities and sciences with Core studios, studio electives, courses in arts administration and cultural diversity and a required internship. Students graduate with an understanding of how historical, social, economic and political factors of communities relate to community art. Students may choose the SMART (Subject Matter Art) emphasis, a precredential program that meets the basic entry requirement for postgraduate, state-approved teacher credentialing programs. Those interested in learning more about CCA's BFA in Community Arts, should call 800.447.1278.