Center for Art and Public Life News

Posted on Monday, May 21, 2012 by Allison Byers

A student-to-student mentoring effort known as the Athena Project has just finished its spring semester session, held over 10 weeks in the Peralta Hacienda Historical Park in Oakland's Fruitvale District.
Sponsored by the California College of the Arts, the Athena Project brings together 12 juniors and seniors from the college with a group of middle school-age students in grades six through eight from the United for Success Academy, a short walking distance from the park.

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Posted on Monday, April 23, 2012 by Simon Hodgson

Sanjit Sethi

What links the children of Oakland's Emery Secondary School with the inmates of San Quentin? Answer: CCA students have worked with both in partner programs organized by CCA's Center for Art and Public Life. The Center, operating out of an unassuming office on Broadway opposite CCA's main Oakland campus, is a dynamic hub connecting the college with organizations across the Bay Area operating in the fields of art, education, business, design, community work, ecology, and beyond. Its ever-widening network is overseen by the Center's director, Sanjit Sethi, whose formidable leadership skills and affable manner have made him much admired and extraordinarily well connected.

In the last four years, Sethi and the Center have focused their activities into three well-defined programs, which immediately benefit hundreds of CCA students every year. ENGAGE at CCA organizes semester-long courses in collaboration with faculty members that occur across disciplines throughout the college and operate in partnership with outside organizations such as Bethany Senior Center Housing or the Temescal Mural Project to solve specific, well-defined issues. The IMPACT Social Entrepreneurship Awards give up to $10,000 to interdisciplinary teams of CCA students to devise, plan, and execute social and humanitarian projects benefiting specific communities, anywhere in the world, over one summer. CCA CONNECTS are structured "externships" in which 40 students every year work at outside organizations such as the design firm Rebar or the architectural group Asian Neighborhood Design.

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Posted on Monday, November 28, 2011 by Allison Byers

So long, ivory tower. Engage. Collaborate. Partner. These are the watchwords of a new direction in art education.

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Posted on Monday, November 28, 2011 by Allison Byers

A few years ago, Sanjit Sethi, artist, professor, and director of the California College of Art’s Center for Art and Public Life, wrote a paper called "Getting it Wrong: How We Fail and What We Learn." In the paper, written with Nicole Garneau of Columbia College, he discussed the need to talk about failure as much as success. "When students get out into the real world what do they do when they fail? They’re not taught that," he says. "There’s a specific set of procedures that need to be followed. How do students learn what to do when they're in over their heads?"

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Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

Social Craft builds a home on the campus of Srishti School of Art, Design, and Technology in Bangalore

$10,000: It's a daunting amount of money to a student, especially when the task is to spend it in three months on a single project. But three CCA student IMPACT teams proved up to the challenge in summer 2011.

The IMPACT: Social Entrepreneurship Awards is a new initiative at CCA, run by the Center for Art and Public Life under the direction of Center director Sanjit Sethi and program manager Rebecca Wolfe. It is one of a trio of unique programs managed by the Center that connect students with outside communities to address specific, real-world problems.

The three winning IMPACT teams had competed against numerous other contenders, and they all had what the judges were looking for: They were interdisciplinary, they had strong relationships with their proposed community partners, they were attentive to a relevant social and humanitarian need, and they balanced innovation and pragmatism.

Sanjit Sethi says, "The name of this speaks for itself. At its core the IMPACT program is about innovation, community, collaboration, and making. It celebrates the entrepreneurial drive of CCA students combined with their desire to create a tangible, positive impact within a specific community."

(Note to students: Info sessions for summer 2012 IMPACT are happening in San Francisco on Nov. 8 and 17 at 6 p.m. in the Timken reception area, and in Oakland Nov. 9 at 6 p.m. in front of A2 Cafe.)

The year-one IMPACT teams reported on their completed projects on September 29, 2011, in Timken Lecture Hall on CCA's San Francisco campus.

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Posted on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 by Aaron Mckenzie

CSFs receive on-the-job-training in real-world settings such as public school classrooms

The Center for Art and Public Life has 35 positions available for the 2011–12 Community Student Fellows (CSF) work-study program. CSF is a tremendous opportunity to develop professional experience, earn $13/hr., build relationships, and work with organizations directly engaged in the community.

For more information, visit the Center for Art and Public Life website.

How to Apply

Students who are interested in this work-study opportunity may apply online.

Contact

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Posted on Monday, July 18, 2011 by Simon Hodgson

Rebecca Najdowski with Tio Lino. They created Rocinha Foto Project, a photography course for community youth

Even after the end date of her nine-month Fulbright scholarship in São Paulo, Brazil, the photographer and artist Rebecca Najdowski (MFA 2010) couldn't resist staying just a little longer to make one more trip, south to the Argentinean border, to see the legendary waterfalls of Iguaçu.

Art and travel have been soldered together in her life for as long as Najdowski can remember. She grew up in Santa Fe, a city world-renowned for its art scene. "I was surrounded by this impulse for craft. My dad was a silversmith and had a studio attached to the house. His work wasn't separate from his regular daily life. My mom was a school counselor and teacher at a public elementary school. During school holidays, she'd take off to Mexico, Honduras, Ecuador, with organizations like Save the Rainforest, and often brought me with her. I've definitely inherited my love for travel from her, the drive to really experience other parts of the world."

Movement infuses Najdowski's own artistic practice, from her Spectra photogram experiments with color and light to her photographs of rural Brazilian storefronts to her roaming investigations into South American shamanism. "Travel forces you to be really open to new people and experiences. During my time in Brazil I couldn't stop traveling, moving around to collect experiences and material. I went to Rio, to Brasília, to Recife for a folk carnival (a super cool experience), and took a three-day boat trip on the Amazon River between Belém and Santarém. The river is so massive, sometimes you feel you're on a lake. Near the northern Brazilian outpost of São Luís, I went to see a tidal bore known as the pororoca, from the word for 'destructive noise' in the indigenous Tupi language. It is an immense wave caused by salt water crashing over fresh water during the new and full moons. It's not exactly on the tourist map -- I had to go through hoops to get in touch with local surfers to reach it."

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Posted on Thursday, April 21, 2011 by Jim Norrena

Happy Earth Day, CCA!

California College of the Arts is one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the United States and Canada, according to The Princeton Review, an education service that helps students select and apply to colleges.

CCA's inclusion in The Princeton Review’s Guide to 311 Green Colleges: 2011 Edition reinforces the college's reputation as an exemplary institution of higher education committed to sustainability.

The news, which USA Today reported Wednesday, April 20, arrives just in time for today's Earth Day celebration—and brings to a close CCA's Earth Week festivities with a remarkable bang!

The Guide to 311 Green Colleges, the first and only free comprehensive college guidebook to focus solely on high-ranking U.S. colleges and universities, showcases outstanding commitments to environmental sustainability in and out of the classroom (e.g., environmentally related practices, policies, and academic offerings). The 220-page guide contains profiles of 308 institutions of higher education in the United States and three in Canada, all of which demonstrate a significant commitment to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities, and career preparation.

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Posted on Thursday, March 31, 2011 by Jason Engelund

courtesy WAZO Design Institute

2011 is the inaugural year of the IMPACT Social Entrepreneurship Awards program, one of the anchor initiatives of CCA's Center for Art and Public Life. This program enables interdisciplinary teams of CCA students to develop and implement social innovations through their studies in art, architecture, design, and writing. We are pleased to announce the winning IMPACT Teams for 2011! Each team has been awarded $10,000 toward their project.

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Posted on Monday, March 21, 2011 by Samantha Braman

Growing up on a wildlife preserve in California surrounded by farms, homesteaders, nature writers, and the Tahoe National Forest, Maria Ryan (Sculpture 2005) spent most of her time outdoors. When she got to CCA and heard about the availability of Center Student Grants, an idea germinated, and the outcome proved life-changing. She used the grant money to spend the following summer studying plants in the Sierra Nevada and teaching a complementary course, titled "Quilting Indigenous Plant Life of the Sierra Foothills." The project combined her love for nature, handwork, and textiles, and in the end led to the production of a public artwork.

"I used an abandoned building as a community center where I held classes for local children. I hired two guest teachers: one a Maidu woman, who taught the ecological and botanical value of each indigenous plant, and the other Louis Bluecloud, a skilled Mohawk artist who gave lessons in graphic pattern design by stenciling.

"Writing the proposal and seeing this project to completion, I recognized the strength that any project acquires through collaboration. I gained priceless experience, working to engage various factions of the community and utilizing local institutions as assets in the creative process."

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