Center for Art and Public Life News

Posted on Monday, June 8, 2015 by Laura Kenney

Robert Morrison

I’m a local, born and raised in Oakland. Pretty much everyone I grew up with was interested in one of two things: sports or being a rapper. But my interests went in a different direction: art.

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love Disney films. Seeing The Lion King for the first time, I was infatuated with how realistic and relatable the characters were. I began mimicking my favorite ones on paper, from Simba to SpongeBob, and creating new ones of my own.

Drawing consumed me. I spent all of my time filling pages with character designs and ideas.

Luckily, my parents realized just how passionate I was and put me in all kinds of art and animation programs. Every summer, I had something to do.

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Posted on Friday, May 1, 2015 by Laura Kenney

CCA's Center for Art and Public Life has awarded IMPACT Social Entrepreneurship Awards to three student-led projects aimed at solving real-world social needs within specific communities.

During the spring semester, six interdisciplinary student teams competed for three $10,000 grants to develop and actualize a socially innovative project. The IMPACT program encourages students across all disciplines to facilitate social change by applying their creative skills and implement solutions collaboratively with community partners.

The awards program supports the mission of The Center for Art and Public Life with the belief that community engagement is the cornerstone of a practice focused on changing the world.

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Posted on Friday, January 16, 2015 by Jim Norrena

In 2011 students Anna Acquistapace (DMBA 2011), Olivia Nava (DMBA 2012), and Eric Persha (DMBA 2012), launched an idea inspired by the MBA in Design Strategy program's Social Ventures course (taught by faculty member Steve Diller).

The idea involves working with members of a solar-distribution company as a partner organization to offer community members in rural Tanzania connectivity services that use renewable solar energy.

(Initially the partner organization had wanted to address better solar-powered lighting solutions in Tanzania, which evolved into the more wide-serving Juabar business model.)

"Our [CCA] education helped us realize that you don’t approach innovation by answering questions, but rather you look to understand end-users’ needs.

"So we didn’t come to that project on 'how can we better sell solar lights?' but more 'how do we understand the electricity experience of Tanzanians with little or no electricity experience?'"

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Posted on Monday, November 17, 2014 by Laura Braun

Earlier this year, Joaquin Alvarado, CEO of The Center for Investigative Reporting, wondered aloud to our colleagues at California College of the Arts: How could we rethink this physical gateway for the news in our communities? As media organizations turn their ambitions to digital and local newspapers downsize and disappear, the concept of the newsstand could use some rejuvenating. What are new ways to take it beyond just a place to get the news and make it a place to contribute to the news as well?

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Posted on Thursday, July 3, 2014 by Chris Bliss

Shalini Agrawal, new Center director

Shalini Agrawal has been appointed director of the Center for Art and Public Life at California College of the Arts (CCA), it was announced today by Provost Melanie Corn. Agrawal had been serving as interim director of the Center for the last year, and was selected after a broad national search.

Corn commented, "Shalini has done an impressive and exemplary job as interim director. Her extensive experience facilitating diverse communities at local, national, and international levels makes her the ideal person for the job. I'm looking forward to working with her in this capacity."

About Shalini Agrawal

Agrawal is cofounder and principal of MAC Studio, a practice that engages communities through landscape architecture. MAC Studio was selected as one of the few firms to complete the San Francisco Unified School District Green Schoolyard Initiative for middle and high schools. 

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Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 by Allison Byers

Team members Kristina Kotlier (MArch 2013) (left) and Raine Paulson Andrews (MArch 2014) (right) with a STAND UP supporter

In spring 2013, three CCA students came together with one common goal: to make a difference with an IMPACT Social Entrepreneurship Award from CCA’s Center for Art and Public Life.

Robert Gomez (MFA and MA Visual and Critical Studies 2013), Raine Paulson Andrews (MArch 2014), and Kristina Kotlier (MArch 2013) were indeed one of three teams who won the award for summer 2013, and the project they carried out, STAND UP with Jamaica, was a major turning point for all of them.

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Posted on Tuesday, November 26, 2013 by Allison Byers

Over the weekend of November 16-17, 2013, 24 CCA undergraduates participated in Wheel Well, a “design sprint” for bicycle safety in Silicon Valley.

Organized by Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition’s Roadway Safety Solutions Team, CCA’s Center for Art and Public Life, and CCA’s Design division, the event challenged students to rapidly conceive an intervention that would: 1) improve the relationship between motorists and cyclists in Silicon Valley; and 2) encourage behavior change to ensure the safety of everyone on the road.

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Posted on Wednesday, July 3, 2013 by Allison Byers

Another new feature is a mosaic mural on a wall near the park's entrance that is a semesterlong project of a group of local students. The colorful mural was created under the direction of California College of the Arts associate professor Virginia Jardim working with her CCA class, alongside a group of middle-school age students from United for Success Academy, whose teacher is Jen Fuller, a CCA alum.

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Posted on Friday, May 31, 2013 by Lindsey Westbrook

Liz Ogbu is CCA's "scholar in residence" at the Center for Art and Public Life. She spends about four or five hours a week there; she'd love it to be more, but she's a busy woman.

As often as twice a month she's getting on a plane to attend a design or education conference somewhere around the world -- frequently as an invited speaker. She teaches one course per semester at CCA, which translates to about one day a week. She spends another day every week teaching at Stanford University's famed Institute of Design, better known as "the d.school."

She also runs an independent consultancy that undertakes short- and long-term projects; currently she's working with CCA Architecture faculty member Douglas Burnham on something for PG&E, something else for the Nike Foundation in Nigeria, and a pop-up health clinic project funded by Autodesk.

With another CCA Architecture faculty member, Lisa Findley, she’s writing a chapter on South Africa for a book on different ways of appropriating space globally.

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Posted on Monday, May 13, 2013 by Allison Byers

Amy has maintained a thoroughly active career, seamlessly intertwining her design accomplishments with her role as an educator and supporter of the community. Her body of work displays a rigorous focus on evolving environmental and sustainable concerns, in her field of instruction, her research and in her exhibitions.

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