Community Arts News

Posted on Tuesday, December 18, 2012 by Matthew Harrison Tedford

The Walls of Hope project in progress in Monthey, Switzerland

Claudia Bernardi (today a professor in CCA's Community Arts Program, but who also teaches in a wide range of disciplines, including Diversity Studies, Fine Arts, and Visual and Critical Studies programs) was a student at the university of art in Buenos Aires in 1976, the year the military dictatorship took power in Argentina.

"Those were very dark years -- very tragic, painful, and violent. The ones who survived learned to look at life, history, and art quite differently."

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Posted on Friday, August 24, 2012 by Allison Byers

Often the role of an artist is simply to disrupt and create a perceptual shift. This past April, I was invited to participate in a residency program where the studios were on the outskirts of a small town, scattered among a forest. The residency promoted its relationship between artists, nature and quiet contemplation. Upon arrival, I was confronted with this somewhat contrived environment, but also with performance artist Jordan McKenzie.

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Posted on Thursday, July 19, 2012 by Allison Byers

The work of Social Practice is on the rise, but compared to the traditional art world news of auction prices and gallery openings, it doesn’t seem to be receiving as much online attention. Institutions such as California College of the Arts, Portland State University, Otis College of Art, The Queens Museum of Art, Creative Time and more have come to emphasis this quietly growing field, but many news sources are slow to the show and struggle with representing the immersive projects.

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Posted on Wednesday, May 30, 2012 by Christina Linden

Amy Campos and CCA students at the Dolores Shelter Program

In fall 2011, CCA faculty member Amy Campos and a group of Interior Design students worked with Dolores Shelter Program (DSP) as part of an ENGAGE at CCA course. Their brief: to generate ideas for the renovation of DSP's homeless shelter on South Van Ness in the Mission District of San Francisco.

The facility's residents are in great need of an empowering and supportive sense of place, hope, and safety, and the aspiration was to facilitate this via better space planning and organization, and the creation of more durable and usable furnishings and storage.

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Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 by Christina Linden

Eduardo Pineda (right) plans the Shorenstein site mural with students in his ENGAGE at CCA course

Eduardo Pineda is a recent addition to CCA's Diversity Studies faculty, but he is a member of long standing in Bay Area community-arts circles. Since he has begun teaching at the college, he has gravitated in particular to the programs hosted through CCA's Center for Art and Public Life, especially the ENGAGE at CCA courses, in which students work with community-based organizations and outside experts to address pressing local issues.

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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 Thursday, April 19, 2012 by Mitchell Schwarzer

Mitchell Schwarzer gives his introduction at the CCA faculty retreat

On February 4, 2012, the faculty at California College of the Arts gathered at the college's San Francisco campus for a retreat focused on the state of the arts across our many disciplines. In the morning, 25 short presentations offered insights into challenges and opportunities faced by practitioners and thinkers in recent times. The word aired most frequently was crisis: the crisis of the Great Recession; the crisis of Global Climate Change; the crisis of understanding and working within a discipline in our digital age.

Watch the video of all the presentations (91 minutes), shot and edited by Yoni Klein (Photography 2012)

The economic downturn has produced an economic squeeze within most of our disciplines. Art directors, as Alexis Mahrus remarks, have diminished roles in shaping an illustration. Smaller profit margins reduce the flexibility and time given over to experimentation. Branding and celebrity worship take up a larger slice of the creative pie. Some presenters, like Sue Redding of Industrial Design, see no problem in this conflation of art and business and, furthermore, dispute the notion of a crisis. Yet many presenters feel that the economic crisis is not only real but wielding dangerously asymmetrical impacts. Demand remains strong for high-end craft goods and blue-chip fine art. Some small nonprofits are struggling to survive. To Ignacio Valero of Critical Studies, the priority given over to luxury items can be attributed to the ongoing influence of classical economic policies that privilege individual decision making over collective social and natural needs. Likewise, Sandra Vivanco of Diversity Studies notes that economic inequalities have greatly worsened over the past few years, especially in the developing world. Contemporary society is forging a timeless, spaceless way of conducting business, a race for lucrative and short-term gains that concentrates investment more than ever in the hands of a few.

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Posted on Thursday, March 8, 2012 by Lindsey Westbrook

Self as Super Hero: Handbook on Creating the Life-Size Self-Portrait
Sankofa Publishing, 2011
Kindle edition, $18

This book is by Amana Harris, CCA alumna and faculty member in Diversity Studies The ArtEsteem Self as Super Hero curriculum was inspired by a need for heroes for our children, youth, and communities. The heroes we need are defined as exceptional individuals or beings who inspire, protect, and serve, standing and taking action for justice and for the well-being of the environment, people, and animals. This multidisciplinary curriculum takes children, youth, and adults through a journey of self-exploration, family and cultural research, societal assessment, and development of aesthetic tools for artistic creation. The ArtEsteem Super Hero is a re-created version of self that embodies superpowers that help create a more loving and peaceful world. In the end, the goal is to allow you to stretch your imagination and integrate your ideas to expand and make this curriculum your own.

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Posted on Monday, February 27, 2012 by Jim Norrena

Production stills from CCA's newest "drama queens": Candacy Taylor, Greacian Goeke, Susan Sobeloff, and Jennifer Roberts

"I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being." -- Oscar Wilde

In the last year a growing number of CCA graduates -- each representing a unique program of study -- has tapped into the Bay Area's richly diverse and proliferating performing arts scene to have a full-scale world premiere of their work brought to fruition. Among these impressive alumnae are:

Candacy Taylor (MFA Visual Criticism 2002)

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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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