CCA News

Posted on Tuesday, November 6, 2007 by Brenda Tucker

Leigh Markopoulos

Stephen Beal, provost at California College of the Arts (CCA), has announced the appointment of Leigh Markopoulos as chair of the Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice, effective January 2008. In this position she will oversee the administration of the program, including the hiring and supervision of staff and faculty, program development and assessment, curriculum development, and recruitment of prospective students in coordination with CCA staff and faculty. She will replace current chair Kate Fowle, who was recently appointed international curator at the new Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, which opened on November 5.

Beal comments, "We are very fortunate to have Leigh in this position. She has tremendous experience in the presentation of international contemporary art, the creation of publications and other visual materials, and day-to-day gallery management. We look forward to the leadership she will bring to our very dynamic program."

Adds Lawrence Rinder, dean of the college, "Leigh's broad knowledge of the curatorial field, her international network, and her strong commitment to education combine to make her the natural next leader of the Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice."

Markopoulos has been director of Rena Bransten Gallery in San Francisco since 2005. Exhibitions she curated there include the group shows Allusive Moments and Furnishing Assumptions. From 2002 to 2005 she was deputy director of the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, where she helped organize several important international group exhibitions, including Baja to Vancouver: The West Coast and Contemporary Art; A Brief History of Invisible Art; Monuments for the USA; Irreducible: Contemporary Short Form Video; and Likeness: Portraits of Artists by Other Artists. She has served as an adjunct faculty member in the Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice since 2003, when she moved to the Bay Area. Prior to that Markopoulos worked at Serpentine Gallery in London, where she organized solo exhibitions featuring Brice Marden, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Dan Flavin, and Chen Zhen. She also served as exhibition organizer at Hayward Gallery in London.

Markopoulos comments, "I'm delighted to take on this new role at CCA as chair of Curatorial Practice. The program has already established itself as a front-runner in the field, with an incredibly strong faculty and enthusiastic students. I look forward to working with them to build on the program's well-deserved reputation for innovation and intellectual rigor."

Markopoulos serves on the boards of the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery and Creative Growth Art Center in San Francisco. She holds a bachelor of arts from the University of Southampton.

About CCA's Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice

The Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice was established in 2003 as the first of its kind on the West Coast. It offers an expanded perspective on curating contemporary art and culture and seeks to extend the current European and North American academic focus on traditional museum and gallery exhibitions, exploring the impact of artist-led initiatives and other efforts that take place outside conventional venues. Core faculty members include curators from Bay Area museums and galleries, including the CCA Wattis Institute. Although the program is relatively new, its alumni have already found success in museums and galleries throughout the world, including the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles; the Mexican Cultural Institute in New York; MUCA-Roma in Mexico City; Rooseum in Malmö, Sweden; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Posted on Tuesday, October 30, 2007 by Kim Lessard

Denise King, *Salty Wood*

The Graduate Program in Fine Arts at California College of the Arts (CCA) presents two events in November 2007 that complement the BioTechnique exhibition at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. The CCA events—Technebiotics on November 2 and Bioaesthetics on November 26—encourage audiences to question how technologies define our everyday actions and cultural expressions. Both events are free and open to the public and take place at CCA's San Francisco campus at 1111 Eighth Street.

Technebiotics (November 2, 2–6 p.m.)

Posted on Friday, October 26, 2007 by Lindsey Lyons

CCA alumni gather across the country and around the world to network, reconnect, and get the latest news about CCA. Just take a look at some of the Alumni Association's past events. [Visit us on Flickr][1] to see event photos from other events.

Alumni Events—

Enjoy the Memories!

Holiday Art Fair

Posted on Tuesday, October 23, 2007 by Brenda Tucker

California College of the Arts announces the formation of an advisory board for the new MFA Graduate Program in Film. The board includes noted professionals from the film industry, the independent film world, theater, and academia. They are helping to shape the program, and they will teach master classes and bring other acclaimed practitioners to campus. Their experience in the field will inspire partnerships and relationships with outside companies, institutions, and other professional resources.

Advisory board members:

CCA's all-digital Graduate Program in Film will launch in fall 2008 with the Academy Award–winning filmmaker Rob Epstein as chair. The program will be housed in a new, state-of-the-art facility on the college's San Francisco campus. The two-year accelerated program aims to nurture an American new wave, teaching the elements of narrative storytelling and film aesthetics from a variety of international perspectives while giving students the tools to develop new ways to communicate their ideas. Film students will benefit from interaction with CCA's creative community of artists, architects, designers, and writers.

Epstein comments: "More than ever, there is interplay between the modes and methods of narrative fiction and documentary filmmaking. Our graduates will be well versed in all of these forms, with narrative as the common foundation, making our film school unique."

For more information about the Graduate Program in Film, see

Posted on Saturday, October 20, 2007 by Lindsey Lyons

Thank you, CCA alumni, for making our reunion weekend a smashing success! From October 12–14, 2007, more than 500 alumni, faculty, friends of the college, and other guests gathered on the San Francisco and Oakland campuses to celebrate CCA's 100th anniversary. A host of exhibitions, lectures, and other activities, including the centennial reunion weekend, took place to commemorate this important milestone.

Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2007 by Brenda Tucker

The CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts will present the exhibition Apocalypse Now: The Theater of War from November 30, 2007, through January 26, 2008, in the lower-level Logan Galleries on the San Francisco campus of California College of the Arts. The show is inspired by the Bay Area's history of antiwar activism and by Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 epic film of the same name. It is cocurated by Wattis Institute Director Jens Hoffmann and the artists Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla.

Posted on Tuesday, October 16, 2007 by Kim Lessard

Thomas Wojak leads the Monotype Marathon

This past weekend, California College of the Arts (CCA) welcomed back more than 500 alumni, three past presidents, and numerous faculty and friends of the college for its weekend-long 100th birthday celebration. Graduates from as long ago as the class of 1942 and as far away as Zimbabwe and India came to honor the institution that Frederick Meyer founded in 1907 as the School of the California Guild of Arts and Crafts. The school began with just $45 in cash, 43 students, three teachers, and three classrooms. Today, with campuses in Oakland and San Francisco, CCA currently enrolls more than 1,600 full-time students and offers studies in 20 undergraduate and eight graduate majors in the areas of fine arts, architecture, design, and writing.

A dedicated team of alumni volunteers worked with CCA staff for more than a year to plan the weekend. CCA Alumni Relations Manager Jessica Russell said, "We are so grateful to the alumni on the planning committee, including Doug Sandberg, committee chair, and Arlene Risi Streich, Alumni Council president, for all their hard work."

In written proclamations, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums paid tribute to CCA and its contributions to the community. It was officially "California College of the Arts Centennial Celebration Day" in San Francisco on October 12, 2007, and in Oakland on October 13, 2007.

San Francisco Kickoff

The weekend of festivities kicked off Friday night on the San Francisco campus with the dazzling avant-garde theatrics of Gregangelo and Velocity Circus (founded by alumnus Gregangelo Herrera). Each arriving guest passed through a colorful, multisensory entrance passageway and was greeted by a series of eccentrically costumed characters before passing into the main event space, where still more members of Gregangelo's troupe entertained them with displays of performance art and acrobatic skill.

Oakland Barbeque

On Saturday, old friends reconnected at the college's Oakland campus in the Rockridge neighborhood. The centerpiece of the day was a fun-filled barbeque accompanied by the high-energy sounds of the Oakland-based blues band the Delta Wires (founded at CCA in the 1970s by alumnus Ernie Pinata). Dessert was served from the lively Tactical Ice Cream Unit, a working ice cream truck and interactive space for art and activism created by the Center for Tactical Magic (cofounded by alumnus Aaron Gach). Along with free ice cream, participants had their choice of free propaganda on such topics as alternative economic systems or the mass media.

Three past presidents of the college—Neil Hoffman (1985–94), Lorne Buchman (1994–99), and Michael Roth (2000–2007)—spoke about their fond memories of CCA, the challenges they faced during their presidencies, and their pride in having been part of this renowned institution.

A tasting of wines generously donated by families connected to CCA took place in Macky Hall. The wineries included Muscardini Cellars (with alumni Michael and Robyn Muscardini), Charles Creek Vineyard (with CCA parents Bill and Gerry Brinton), and William Knuttel Winery (with CCA parent William Knuttel).

Guests toured the various studio art facilities on the Oakland campus, including those devoted to textiles, metals, and sculpture. The glassblowing demonstration was popular, but the biggest hit of the day was the Monotype Printmaking Marathon that took place in the Blattner Print Studio. It was led by faculty member Thomas Wojak, who encouraged everyone to join in the fun whether or not they had art-making experience. One participant was overheard protesting that she couldn't draw, to which her friend replied: "What do you mean you can't? You did it when you were a kid. Why did you stop? Just make something. Art is for everyone, that's whole point of this event."

Saturday Night Museum Reception

Saturday evening, the Oakland Museum of California hosted hundreds of guests—including the artists Ralph Borge, Eleanor Dickinson, Bella Feldman, Lynn Marie Kirby, Dennis Oppenheim, Raymond Saunders, and Larry Sultan—at a private reception for the opening of "Artists of Invention: A Century of CCA," a major retrospective exhibition featuring artists and art movements associated with the college. The exhibition runs October 13, 2007, through March 16, 2008, and includes more than 120 works by renowned alumni and faculty, including Robert Bechtle, Squeak Carnwath, Liz Cohen, Sergio de la Torre, Richard Diebenkorn, Kota Ezawa, Amy Franceschini, Edith Heath, Désirée Holman, David Ireland, Jacomena Maybeck, Raymond Saunders, and the Society of Six.

Sunday Send-off

On Sunday the celebration continued back at CCA's San Francisco campus with panel discussions, campus tours (which included the new Graduate Center), and a champagne send-off. The panel discussing the ways in which artists and designers are reconceiving craft drew a large crowd. It was moderated by Lawrence Rinder, dean of the college, and included faculty panelists from several different CCA programs. Another panel was devoted to the search for CCA's next president, with participants and attendees weighing in with their opinions and priorities. Another popular panel discussed how organizations can work for social justice, education, and community development through the arts, presented by CCA's Center for Art and Public Life.

Posted on Wednesday, September 26, 2007 by Brenda Tucker

Earlier this year we sat down with three of CCA's former presidents, Neil Hoffman (1985–93), Lorne Buchman (1994–99), and Michael Roth (2000–2007), to talk—and reminisce—about their respective tenures at the college.

Neil Hoffman is now president of the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. After leaving CCA he served as president of Otis College of Art and Design from 1993 until 2000. He went on to become associate director of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and he also spent five years as a consultant in college and nonprofit development. He is writing a book on the management of nonprofit institutions.

What program, event, or decision do you think was the most pivotal or far-reaching for the school during your presidency?

There were two. Soon after I arrived at the college, Oakland's mayor, Lionel Wilson, asked me to lead the city's cultural planning process. The comprehensive plan we devised—which actually got implemented—was totally inclusive. It encouraged people to give their best thoughts and look to the future. I realized that if 300 or 400 people who don't even know each other can work together for a common outcome and be pleased and excited by it, we certainly ought to be able to do that at CCAC. The process involved everything from curriculum development to fundraising to enrollment management. It also tied into the need to find a permanent home—that we would own—for the architecture and design schools in San Francisco. We were looking to buy the Greyhound building when I was there. I'm disappointed that I wasn't the guy to be able to do that.

What was the other pivotal development?

The Board of Trustees at that time was a fairly small group of people, very dedicated and loyal. They knew they needed to expand and bring in a broader constituency, take a leadership role in fundraising, and get their committees directly involved in the oversight of the institution. The result: The board today compares favorably with any of the best boards in the country.

What was the biggest challenge you faced as president?

When I arrived the college had an accumulated operating deficit, it had no endowment, enrollments were low, morale was low, and faculty salaries were low. So we needed to manage the enrollment. We needed better graphics and better communications, and of course our own Graphic Design faculty was a major part of that change. In seven years it became a more selective institution, able to attract very good new faculty. And it became very viable financially, attracting annual funds and creating the base for the kind of fundraising it now enjoys.

Is there a particular achievement of which you're most proud?

That turnaround, and also the realization of the best dreams. Everyone made some very distinct decisions about what the priorities were. The standards and aspirations were always there. The ability to realize those aspirations took time to develop, but they did it. That's on every front: faculty, staff, board members, and the community. In the first year, I think nine of ten foundations bellied up in support of what we were doing. Another part of it was commitment to diversity. Not just attracting and retaining the best students and faculty of color, but also diversity of thought.

Is there a particularly funny moment or incident that you want to share?

It wasn't as much funny as it was rewarding. When the NAAB accrediting team came to review the Architecture school, they insisted on meeting in private with the students. So they went in a private room, closed the door, and the team actually said, "Now is your opportunity to bitch." And the students took them to task for it. After a long conversation the team asked the students, "What would you like us to say to Neil about how this school can be improved?" And the student leader answered: "If we want to talk to Neil, we'll just talk to him. We don't need you." I'm very proud of that.

At the end of the process, the head of NAAB said, "Let me put it this way: Unless there's an earthquake that takes this entire school out, you're going to be NAAB accredited. This is an amazing place."

What advice would you give students who are interested in art and architecture school?

Find your voice. Find your passion. That's it.

Lorne Buchman is now president of Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center in San Francisco. After leaving CCA he served as president of School of Education and as interim CEO of the San Francisco Art Institute. He is also currently the principal and founder of a consulting firm that provides organizational development and strategic leadership to a wide range of nonprofit and public entities.

What was the most important event or program during your presidency?

The strategic plan of 1994 was bold, ambitious, grand, and, in retrospect, completely audacious. Given no history of a major campaign, a somewhat anemic annual fund, relatively low enrollment, and an uneven academic infrastructure, we were certainly reaching to think we could realize the objectives of that plan. But Neil Hoffman and John Stein had done such good work before I arrived and prepared the institution so well that the stage was set, courageously, for something very exciting to happen.

One key to our success was that the strategic plan had its inspiration in solid educational values and principles. The faculty had a clear picture of the exceptional education CCAC could envision for its future, and the plan was invented and driven by the teachers themselves. Every dollar we raised, every building we explored as a possible new campus, every conversation about new programs, growing enrollment, new faculty, stronger library resources, technology, equipment for studios—all of it was in service of educational values and mission.

Our plan worked for many reasons but, at its core, it was always serving education and learning. So, for example, we never looked at enrollment growth just for the sake of growth. We imagined programs that would add to the vitality and dynamism of the education we offered. Similarly the new campus in San Francisco was, at the end of the day, not about some abstract glory or prestige. We simply needed the space to grow and to provide a better learning environment—to teach the critical mass of students that would be part of the great school we envisioned.

What is the achievement of which you are most proud?

I suppose the most significant achievement was the recognition that, in the end, true success did not simply rest with the tenacity and force of Thom Weisel (who generously chaired our capital campaign with the enthusiastic Emily Carroll); or the devotion of Tecoah Bruce (the platonic ideal of the Great Board Chair); or the luminous creativity of Steve Oliver; or the penetrating insights of Ron Wornick, George Saxe, Simon Blattner, Jeanne Wente, Barc Simpson, Shep Pollack, Mary Jo Shartsis, and David Kirshman. True success for me can be summed up in two words: Helen Frierson.

CCAC was the experience of my life, even though I was only about 12 years old when I was appointed president. The learning and personal growth for me were extraordinary, and I'm grateful to the entire community for the opportunity to be part of something so exciting, dynamic, and meaningful.

Tell us about something that you wanted to do but couldn't implement and why.

I wish I could have moved further along in faculty development. The Architecture and Design programs were built on the heroic contributions of a dedicated, part-time, professionally practicing faculty. We desperately needed their involvement and participation, but I don't think we ever fully recognized or compensated them for their efforts. The "ranked," or tenured, faculty were not exactly sitting pretty themselves. And yet the part-time faculty often were not subject to the same performance reviews and scrutiny. Reconciling all of this, setting up proper governance and classification, recognizing contributions adequately, and bridging the gap between the culture of architecture and design on the one hand (the "San Francisco programs") and fine arts and humanities and sciences on the other (the "Oakland programs") was exceedingly difficult.

What are some adjectives you would use to describe CCA during your time as president?

Bold. Dedicated. Ready. Daring. Generous. Creative. Naive. Goofy (charmingly so). Lucky that Montgomery Securities was bought out. And not ready to drop "crafts."

Talk about some of the people you hired who made a difference at the college.

John Stein. I didn't hire him but what a stroke of incredible fortune to work with him. Steve Beal. His experience, wisdom, calm, focus on enrollment, understanding of art and art education, friendship, support, humor, and love of students made a huge difference. Margie Shurgot. Without her boldness and ambition, our fundraising efforts would never have succeeded; she worked tirelessly behind the scenes, set the stage, made the calls, and threw the best parties this side of the moon. Joan Majerus, in her quiet way, was a fabulous CFO. Focused, hardworking, completely skilled and responsible. Larry Rinder. Without him I would have never been able to launch the Institute for Public Programs (now the Wattis Institute), which was so important to my vision for the college. We hired a lot of inspiring faculty members as well—too many to list here.

What was the funniest moment of your presidency?

There were several:

Getting lost in a parking lot (looking for my car) for an hour with Tecoah Bruce. These were the people running the school?

The power outage in the tent at the big campaign launch party at Thom Weisel's house. In the middle of my passionate plea for support, the power went out, the mic went off, and nobody heard or saw a thing. The gardener, apparently, had shorted something. It was later determined that, in an effort to save some of their own philanthropic funds, certain board members (who shall remain nameless) had colluded with said gardener.

Getting locked in the Greyhound building during a donor tour (wasn't funny at the time).

Watching Julie Milburn pour hot chocolate for a crowd of students on the morning of the first day of classes at the new San Francisco campus. Truth be told, we were waiting for our occupancy permit to come through from the city. It was political (and it also wasn't too funny at the time). The permit finally came through about 20 minutes after classes were scheduled to start.

Gaining a pound for every million dollars we raised. I was a chubby president by the end.

What advice would you give to students interested in art school?

Know that great art and design schools feed the mind even as they teach the creative work in the studio. The two (creativity and intellectual study) are mutually nourishing and together form the fundamental paradigm for the best art and design education.

Michael Roth left CCA in June 2007 to become president of Wesleyan University, his undergraduate alma mater. He earned his doctorate in history at Princeton University in 1984 and began his teaching career at Scripps College and Claremont Graduate University. In 1987 he became founding director of the Scripps College Humanities Institute, a center for intellectual exchange across disciplines, and in 1997 he became associate director of the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles.

What event or decision do you think was the most important for the school during your presidency?

There were two: reorganizing the college to promote cross-college and interdisciplinary work. With no more schools of Fine Arts, Architecture, and Design, we could facilitate work on a collegewide curriculum. The second was the name change to California College of the Arts, which allowed us to clarify our mission and identity to a broader public, particularly beyond the Bay Area.

What was the biggest challenge you faced as president?

The economic and educational necessity of enrollment growth. We decided to become a more robust, two-campus school, and that meant we needed to increase the size of the student body and the number of programs.

What adjectives would you use to describe CCA during your time as president?

Nimble. Innovative. Inclusive. Humane. Ambitious.

What is the achievement of which you are most proud?

The expansion of the applicant pool and the internationally recognized work of our faculty, our alumni, the Center for Art and Public Life, and the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts. The development of residential life on the Oakland campus and the collaborative work of our First Year Program were great additions to the college. In San Francisco, progressing from a building to a campus will ensure a great future to those who create and learn there.

Tell us about something that you wanted to do but couldn't implement and why.

Swim team and equestrian club. No pool. No horses.

Convocation. We just couldn't bring enough students and faculty together in a community event at the beginning of each term.

Talk about some of the people you hired who made a difference at the college.

Susan Avila has built a first-rate Advancement department that has reinvigorated fundraising and alumni relations. Ralph Rugoff made an international reputation for the Wattis Institute during his tenure as director. Larry Rinder is a first-rate academic leader, and it was a great boost to bring him back to CCA. Sonia BasSheva Mañjon has put the Center for Art and Public Life on the map as one of the great community arts organizations in the entire nation. And Yves Béhar is an extraordinary designer, teacher, and departmental leader for Industrial Design.

What advice would you give to students interested in art school?

Learn through the arts to follow your passion, to discover what you really love to do. When you make this discovery, you can acquire the skills to continue to pursue this work in a way you can build on for the rest of your life.

What will you remember as the highlights of your tenure?

Building a board of generous, thoughtful trustees who love CCA and work hard to advance its mission. Developing a national reputation for the school that will benefit alumni and faculty as they continue to make work that will shape the culture of the future. Creating partnerships with local arts and community organizations on both sides of the bay, and connecting with nationally and internationally with schools and companies that foster creativity.

The great highlight, of course, was teaching the inspirational CCA students each semester.

Any final thoughts on your time at CCA?

I am very proud of what we—trustees, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and donors—accomplished during my time at CCA. The college's position in arts education has never been stronger, and interest in its academic programs, public programs, and exhibitions only continues to grow. I would like to thank the entire CCA community for the support, creative spirit, and collegiality they showed me throughout my seven years at the college.

Posted on Monday, September 24, 2007 by Kim Lessard

Lydia Nakashima Degarrod, *Voyagers,* 2005

The artist and visual anthropologist Lydia Nakashima Degarrod will be the California College of the Arts (CCA) Center for Art and Public Life visiting artist for 2007–8. Drawing on her background as a Chilean immigrant, Dr. Degarrod will create an installation that addresses the emotional and physical aspects of memory through a depiction of the journey of Chilean migrants to the San Francisco Bay Area. The installation will be exhibited to the public in fall 2008 at the Oliver Art Center on CCA's Oakland campus.

Posted on Thursday, September 20, 2007 by Kim Lessard

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of California College of the Arts, the de Young Museum in San Francisco presents Celebrating a Centennial: Contemporary Printmakers at CCA, an exhibition featuring approximately 20 prints and monotypes from the museum's collection, all by CCA alumni and faculty. The featured artists include Robert Arneson, Robert Bechtle, Squeak Carnwath, Nathan Oliveira, and Laurie Reid. The exhibition, organized by Karin Breuer, curator of contemporary graphic art at the de Young, takes place from September 29, 2007, through January 6, 2008, in the museum's Anderson Gallery (Gallery 17).

Many of the featured artists, though not exclusively printmakers, have embraced the print as an important part of their work. For others, early exposure to the medium at CCA determined a lifelong interest in creative printmaking. As a group, the exhibited works testify to the important role that CCA has played in contemporary printmaking in the Bay Area and beyond.

On November 9, in conjunction with the exhibition, students and faculty from CCA will give live demonstrations of the printmaking process. This event will take place in the de Young's Murals Room. There will be a special tour of the exhibition prior to the demonstrations.

Celebrating a Centennial: Contemporary Printmakers at CCA is one of several exhibitions taking place this year at more than 30 galleries and museums in the Bay Area and beyond to celebrate the centennial anniversary of California College of the Arts (formerly California College of Arts and Crafts). The Oakland Museum of California presents the major retrospective Artists of Invention: A Century of CCA from October 13, 2007, through March 16, 2008, featuring more than 120 works by artists associated with the college. The San Francisco Museum of Craft and Folk Art presents C Change: Craft in Our Future from November 1, 2006, through January 27, 2008, featuring recent CCA graduates who utilize traditional craft materials but operate on the cutting edge, demonstrating the future of the field. And Charles Campbell Gallery in San Francisco presents CCA at CCG from October 20 through November 24, 2007, with works by a wide range of alumni and faculty, from the Society of Six to Manuel Neri, Michael Beck, and Christopher Brown.