Posted on Tuesday, September 23, 2008 by Chris Bliss
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced today that Walter Kitundu, faculty member at California College of the Arts, has been named one of its 25 fellows for 2008. MacArthur Fellowship awardees each receive $500,000 in unrestricted, "no strings attached" support over five years. The recipients work across a broad spectrum of endeavors, including science, medicine, the humanities, and the visual and performing arts. They are selected for their exceptional creativity and for their potential to make important future contributions and advances in their respective fields.
Walter Kitundu is the Wornick Distinguished Visiting Professor of Wood Arts at CCA for the 2008–9 academic year. The furniture studio course that he is teaching focuses on works that utilize natural phenomena such as wind, oceanic tides, geologic movement, and animal behaviors. On October 22 he will deliver a lecture as part of CCA's Design and Craft Lecture Series (the lecture is free and open to the public, and it takes place at 7 p.m. on CCA's San Francisco campus at 1111 Eighth Street). Kitundu also lectured at CCA in fall 2007.
Raised in Tanzania and now living in San Francisco, Kitundu is a visual artist, instrument builder, photographer, and composer. One of his most recent projects is a series of hand-built record players powered by natural forces, which he calls phonoharps. The phonoharps are both highly sculptural art objects and functional instruments, opening up new possibilities in experimental sound and music.
Kitundu has played in venues from Carnegie Hall to a high school in Iceland, and he has been a resident artist at art centers and science museums all over the world. He has performed with the Kronos Quartet, the bassist Meshell Ndegeocello, the electronic music duo Matmos, the instrument builder and visionary Douglas Ewart, the legendary Marshall Allen, the kotoist and composer Miya Masaoka, the Japanese sound artist Akio Suzuki, and the hip-hop band the Crown City Rockers. His work has been exhibited and performed at such national and international venues as the Singapore Arts Centre; the Gunnar Gunnarsson Institute, Iceland; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the Museum of Craft and Folk Art, San Francisco.
Since 2003 Kitundu has been affiliated with San Francisco's Exploratorium, a museum of science, art, and human perception, where he is currently a Learning Studio multimedia artist. He is also a 2008 artist in residence at Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, California.
For more information on the MacArthur Foundation and this year's award winners, visit www.macfound.org.
About California College of the Arts
Founded in 1907, California College of the Arts (CCA) is noted for the interdisciplinarity and breadth of its programs. It offers studies in 20 undergraduate and seven graduate majors in the areas of fine arts, architecture, design, and writing. The college offers bachelor of architecture, bachelor of arts, bachelor of fine arts, master of architecture, master of arts, master of fine arts, and master of business administration degrees. With campuses in Oakland and San Francisco, CCA currently enrolls more than 1,650 full-time students. Noted alumni include the painters Nathan Oliveira and Raymond Saunders; the ceramicists Robert Arneson, Viola Frey, and Peter Voulkos; the filmmaker Wayne Wang; the conceptual artists David Ireland and Dennis Oppenheim; and the designers Lucille Tenazas and Michael Vanderbyl. For more information about CCA, visit www.cca.edu.