Celebrating 25 Years of the Barclay Simpson Award

Barclay Simpson, President Stephen Beal, Sharon Simpson

"We’re All Here Because We’re Not All There”

September 27 through October 27

This year CCA celebrates 25 years of the Barclay Simpson Award -- a social and historical record of the past quarter of a century -- with a special retrospective exhibition, We’re All Here Because We’re Not All There, and an accompanying catalogue that features works by select recipients.

Since its inception in 1987 in honor of CCA Board of Trustee member and 2005 honorary doctorate Barclay Simpson and his wife, Sharon, the Barclay Simpson Award has through financial support, encouragement, and recognition celebrated an entire generation of well-deserving graduating artists.

Opening Reception

Thurs., Sept. 27, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Join us in celebrating 25 years of the Barclay Simpson Award »

RSVP by email or call 510.594.3604.

About Barclay & Sharon Simpson

In addition to lending his name to the annual awards exhibition, Barclay and Sharon Simpson have given generously to the college over the years to support a variety of projects:

  • Sharon Hanley Simpson Library (1988)

  • Barclay Simpson Sculpture Studio in Oakland (1993)

  • Center for Art and Public Life (including naming Center for Art and Public Life Director Sanjit Sethi the Barclay Simpson Chair of Community Arts)

  • CCA Scholarship Fund

Says David Kasprzak (MA Curatorial Practice 2011), one of three proprietors of Will Brown gallery in San Francisco: “While each artist has his or her own individual experiences and ideologies that manifest in their work, they all share the distinction of having attended CCA and having been recognized for their exceptional talent.”

Select Quotes (Barclay Simpson Awardees)

“My time at CCA(C) was characterized by a strong sense of community. Our small class was passionate, engaged and supportive.”

-- Sasha Wizanky (MFA, 1998)

“Faculty was so welcoming. It didn’t really feel like school as much as a massive creative work space.”

-- Hank Willis Thomas (MFA, 2004)

“My strongest memory outside of being excited that I received [the award] was meeting Barclay and Sharon. They made me realize that there was a venue and support for what we were doing.”

-- Lawrence Labianca (MFA, 1994)

“I was very energized by the open attitude of the late 80s and early 90s. An artist could “do it all” and not be labeled as just a painter, sculptor or photographer – and that was exciting.”

-- Jean Miller (MFA, 1990)

“The Simpson Award Exhibition was such a culmination to a period of extensive, hard work. To top it off, Barclay and Sharon’s excitement and engagement with my work was so inspiring.

“It is touching to have two people so deeply dedicated to shaping the experiences of young artists and invested in the success of the visual arts.”

-- Julie Henson (MFA, 2011)

“I remember being struck by the deep sense of local history and pride in the area’s role in the art world. I was also surprised to find out how interconnected everything seemed to be.

“The atmosphere on campus while I was a grad student was one of excitement. The exposure to so many new ideas, the access to so many different people and great facilities was intoxicating for us all, I think.”

-- David Hinman, (MFA, 2001)

“The campus atmosphere at CCA in the mid-1990s was dynamic and charged with excitement. A terrific sense of discovery percolated through every department and we were encouraged to cross disciplines and talk to neighbors.

“The experiences within such an inclusive community, and the early support I received through scholastic opportunities, (such as the Barclay Simpson Award), has allowed my creative practice to expand over time and embrace multiple mediums.

“My studio continues to explore what art can be when cross-disciplinary dialog is applied to free expression.”

-- – Colin Stinson (MFA, 1996)

Barclay Simpson Awardees

Read interviews with past alumni recipients (abridged) »

Review the unabridged version »