Alumni Spotlight: Sally Maxwell & Meagan Geer

As a child, Meagan Geer remembers going to CCA alumni barbecues with her mom, Sally Maxwell. Meagan also grew up hearing her mother’s stories about CCAC in the 1960s, including the time Jim Morrison came to Sally’s poetry class to read poetry with Michael McClure. When it came time to choose a college, these childhood memories helped influence her decision. “I would be part of a community that I already felt comfortable with, because I pretty much grew up on the campus.”

Sally first discovered CCA through summer art classes in high school. She wanted to be a teacher, and at the time CCA offered a bachelor of art in education. Her favorite teachers taught her much more than art. She credits drawing teachers Carol Purdie and Harry Krell with teaching her about perspective and focus, and from lifelong friend and teacher Marty Streich, she says, “I learned about life and about making yourself accessible as a teacher.”

After student teaching at Berkeley High School, Sally changed careers, going into banking. She still speaks of the effect CCA had on her career and her life. “My education really made me more sensitive to people,” she explains. “Your artistic talents can help you express yourself in whatever you’re doing. Who you are is definitely cultivated in art school.”

Sally passed these lessons on to Meagan, whose own experience at CCA was just as positive. As a printmaking major, Meagan found a mentor in Ken Rignall. She recalls, “He was really good about getting into the heads of each of his students and figuring out what made them want to create art. Then he would make you question it.” In one studio, he brought in paper, Pepto-Bismol, and brown caulk and forced her to make something really ugly to prove to her that art didn’t have to be beautiful.

Mother and daughter both continue to use lessons learned at CCA. Sally, now retired from banking, uses her teaching skills to teach yoga to seniors. Meagan was recently in a juried print exhibition at the Los Angeles Printmaking Society. In Portland, she is starting a printmaking company.

From Glance, 2006

Sally Maxwell

Born 1946, Stockton, CA

CCA degree:BAED 1968, Teaching Credential 1969

Influences at CCA:Harry Krell, Walter Menrath, Carol Purdie, Marty Streich, Hugh Wiley

Meagan Geer

Born 1978, Berkeley, CA

CCA degree:BFA 2002, Printmaking

Influences at CCA:Jack Ford, Ken Rignall, Barron Storey