Center for Art and Public Life News

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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Posted on Tuesday, March 8, 2011 by Samantha Braman

(This is the third of four installments describing highlights of the spring 2010 ENGAGE at CCA courses. You can also download the whole story as it appeared in Glance, CCA's college magazine.)

Community Partner Organization: Bethany Center Senior Housing, San Francisco

CCA Faculty Leaders: Rachel Robinette and Charlie Sheldon, Design

Outside Experts: Patricia Moore, designer and gerontologist; Jump Associates; Wayne Pan of Affinity Medical Solutions and SciMed Partners Inc.; Anna Cwirko-Godycki of the U.S. Administration on Aging

Goal: Define pragmatic, cost-effective design solutions that benefit elder residents and administrators at Bethany Center

Bethany Center is a progressive, publicly subsidized, low-income, 133-unit elder living facility in San Francisco's Mission District. Its population is incredibly diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, language, and the residents' personal histories. It also has a specific policy of encouraging and welcoming the arts, which made it an obvious ENGAGE match for faculty leaders Rachel Robinette and Charlie Sheldon.

"The Bethany Center was really excited to get a fresh take on its problems -- which are mostly centered on communications, residential life, and community engagement -- from a design perspective," says Sheldon.

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Posted on Thursday, January 27, 2011 by Samantha Braman

(This is the second of four installments describing highlights of the spring 2010 ENGAGE at CCA courses. You can also download the whole story as it appeared in Glance, CCA's college magazine.)

Community Partner Organization: Lighthouse Community Charter School, Oakland

CCA Faculty Leader: Russell Baldon, Furniture

Outside Expert: Justin Champaign of Coalesse

Goal: Create functional, attractive, and affordable tables for Lighthouse’s new K–12 library

Course blog: Visit the course-specific blog

Do you remember your grade-school library? Probably fondly. Do you remember the furniture? Probably not at all.

This course set out to change that, for at least a few kids, at Lighthouse Community Charter School. Furniture chair Russell Baldon had wanted to work with Lighthouse for years, knowing that its predominantly inner-city Latino students would benefit tremendously from exposure to the design world. Even before he knew about ENGAGE's impending launch, he'd already been in touch with Lighthouse's director of development and with Justin Champaign, an industrial designer at the furniture firm Coalesse, about some sort of collaboration. (Champaign is also a CCA Furniture 2007 alum.) "When I heard the rumor that ENGAGE was coming," Baldon says, "I saw this course as a natural fit."

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Posted on Wednesday, January 19, 2011 by Samantha Braman

(This is the first of four installments describing highlights of the spring 2010 ENGAGE at CCA courses. You can also download the whole story as it appeared in Glance, CCA's college magazine.)

"Art school can definitely put you in a kind of bubble. But it can also help you break out of the bubble."

So said one of the 140 students (although more of them were thinking it!) coming up for air after one of the most intense and immersive experiences of their college careers thus far: ENGAGE at CCA.

This new group of project-based courses is an outgrowth of several decades of community-centered work by CCA students and faculty. This past spring more than 140 students, enrolled in 10 different courses, did everything from creating ceramic nesting modules for threatened bird species at Ano Nuevo Island to designing new systems for elders at Bethany Center Senior Housing. More than a dozen new courses are happening this academic year, including a Writing course with San Quentin State Prison, a Textiles course with Zen Hospice Project, and a Community Arts course with La Cocina (the San Francisco "incubator kitchen" for women).

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Posted on Wednesday, December 8, 2010 by Jason Engelund

Banker White with WeOwnTV at work in Sierra Leone

CCA alumnus Banker White (MFA 2000) is a documentary filmmaker. You may know him as the director of Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars, about a group of Sierra Leonean musicians who gained international renown and landed a record deal.

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Posted on Tuesday, November 30, 2010 by Jason Engelund

IMPACT Idea Sessions

The Center for Art and Public Life is hosting Idea Sessions for CCA students to discuss project ideas and connect with other students interested in being part of an IMPACT Social Entrepreneurship Award team. Please come ready to discuss social and humanitarian issues you are most passionate about and how you might collaborate through an interdisciplinary team. Meet other students with similar interests and form an IMPACT team. In addition, Center staff will be available to answer any questions about the IMPACT program and the application process.

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