Letter from the President — Spring 2016

CCA leaders on Oakland campus, including President Stephen Beal

Dear Friends,

California College of the Arts was founded in 1907, just after San Francisco’s cataclysmic earthquake and fire, in a time of challenges, transition, and opportunity.

Our founders had a remarkable vision: connect artists to social, economic, and political life to deepen the power of creative work and change our world for the better.

After a century of growth, CCA and its founding ideals have never been more relevant. Artists and designers contribute significantly to a culture that increasingly relies on a combination of invention and creative content.

At CCA, we cultivate ingenuity by educating the most promising creative people from across the country and around the world.  

Framing the Future for CCA

CCA is on the threshold of an important step forward to strengthen the education we offer all students and to expand our impact.

Over the next five years, we will be working to unify and reshape our two campuses into one vibrant and innovative institution. We will dramatically expand the college’s role as a wellspring of creative talent, producing the trailblazers of tomorrow who can solve the seemingly intractable problems of today’s society.

CCA will set a new standard for art and design education in the 21st century.

We plan to create a campus in the heart of San Francisco’s DoReMi arts district (the overlapping neighborhoods of Dogpatch, Potrero Hill, and the Mission) for makers and thinkers of all kinds -- a campus that is flexible, sustainable, interdisciplinary, and ahead of its time.

Here we will bring together all our programs in art, crafts, design, architecture, and writing to create new adjacencies and interactions while developing yet-to-be-discovered modes of making.

Our robust new campus will strengthen the arts and cultural ecosystem of the Bay Area and San Francisco, a city once again facing challenges, transition, and opportunities. Bringing our 2,000 students, 600 faculty, 200 staff, and 34 academic programs together in San Francisco will reshape art and design practice.

CCA will enrich and reinvigorate the region with our community of artists -- more than 1,000 of them living on campus.

CCA will become a powerful force in recapturing the city’s artistic history and legacy while significantly contributing to its promising future.

Update on Campus Planning

The CCA community is hard at work developing plans to realize this vision. Last June we completed the first phase of work with Gensler and MKThink to produce a strategic framework for planning. The yearlong process included input from faculty, students, staff, alumni, and trustees.

Read the published report titled Framing the Future.

More than 300 faculty, staff, students, and alumni have been involved to date in working with Jensen Architects to develop the next phase of the plan, which is to delineate requirements for the space types outlined in Framing the Future.

After completing this work, we’ll be ready to undertake an architecture selection process as the next step in reshaping the San Francisco campus.

To guide and ground our goals, CCA staff and faculty leaders created an extension to the operational plan made six years ago, the Dream Big Extension 2016-20.

As in the past, no tuition dollars will be used for campus planning, building, or expansion efforts. We are in the very early stages of a fundraising campaign that will make these goals a reality.

The Oakland Campus

The future of our Oakland campus continues to be a top priority. We are actively exploring a range of options, including alternative uses and partnerships with other mission-aligned organizations.

For example, CCA joined with Gensler, Summit Public Schools, and Silicon Schools to submit an XQ Challenge proposal that, if successful, could fund the launch of a new high school dedicated to learning through making on part of the Oakland campus.

We are also looking into the possibility of locating affordable artist housing and/or studio space on the campus.

CCA’s deep commitment to making is central to our plans. The fine arts and crafts programs that have defined and shaped the Oakland campus -- Ceramics, Glass, Jewelry / Metal Arts, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, Textiles -- will be an integral part of our expanded campus in San Francisco.

I am excited by the possibilities that new facilities and adjacencies to the design and architecture programs will bring to these disciplines. 

Alongside long-range planning, we will continue to refine and improve both campuses. Recent improvements include the learning spaces for Animation (Oakland) and Interaction Design (SF).

This summer the San Francisco campus Nave will undergo some new construction as we build out another two-story "pod," adding much-needed studio space. 

Student Housing

With the cost of living rising in the Bay Area, devising housing strategies for students and faculty is crucial. Our goal is to have approximately 1,000 beds on or near the San Francisco campus by 2025, and we have two projects in the works, with projected openings before 2020.

Community Input

Input from our community -- alumni, students, parents, faculty, staff, and friends -- is vital to shaping CCA’s future. We will continue to offer opportunities for participation.

To keep up to date, visit the campus planning blog. Ask questions and leave feedback at campusplanning@cca.edu.

As I see our ideas and plans starting to take shape, I am excited about the future of CCA. We are in a position to vastly improve the student experience while having an even greater and more meaningful impact on our community and the world.  


Stephen Beal