Diversity Studies News

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 Wednesday, January 25, 2012 by Jim Norrena

"A Great Day in San Francisco" [photo: Chris Nickel]

California College of the Arts proudly announces the release of It Gets Better: CCA, the official college submission in the It Gets Better Project, a national gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth suicide-prevention campaign. CCA is among the first art colleges to create an institutional video for the internationally recognized project.

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Posted on Monday, November 14, 2011 by Jim Norrena

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, "Bay Area Now 6" (video still)

Alumnus David Huffman (MFA 1998), who is a recently tenured assistant professor in CCA's undergraduate Painting/Drawing Program and Graduate Program in Fine Arts, is one of three featured artists in the current group exhibition SHIFT: Three Projects Constructing a New Dialogue About Race in America at the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery (through December 10, 2011).

Shifting Demographics, Shifting Races

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Posted on Thursday, June 2, 2011 by Jim Norrena

Jason Hanasik (MFA Fine Arts 2009) shot, directed, and edited Gap Inc.'s official "It Gets Better" video, the first video of its kind from a major retailer, for inclusion in the national It Gets Better Project, which is committed to reducing or eliminating harassment of LGBT youth in schools.

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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 Wednesday, March 2, 2011 by Jim Norrena

Performance artists Cecelia Cooper, Tina Takemoto, and Keith Hennessy

California College of the Arts prides itself in the myriad forms of artistic expression that can be witnessed on any given day at either the Oakland or San Francisco campuses. One such form of visual art is performance art, which offers a dynamic means of expression, one that often has at its core a political statement or reaction.

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