Diversity News

Posted on Monday, February 10, 2014 by Rachel Walther

Meet ChuCha Santamaria: dancing siren, disco singer, and larger-than-life alter ego of CCA alumna Sofía Córdova (MFA 2010). Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Córdova has developed an artistic practice spanning sculpture and photography, installation, and video, but it is her music and performances as ChuCha Santamaria that have attracted the most attention.

In 2011, she and her husband, the musician and artist Matthew Kirkland, released their debut album ChuCha Santamaria Y Usted. (It was the central piece in an installation/performance cycle.) Reviewers were dazzled. “Fantastic, vital . . . imminently catchy,” wrote East Bay Express critic Ellen Cushing. “Singer/wordsmith Sofía Córdova sings in inglés, español, y Vocoder, carefully unfolding her melodies with stately restraint,” enthused PopMatters reviewer Josh Langhoff.

Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 by Jim Norrena

(l-r) Pratibha Parmar, Alice Walker, and Geena Davis [photo: Jim Norrena]

Pratibha Parmar is a British filmmaker, director, producer, and writer who is known internationally for her political and often controversial documentary film work. She’s also a stalwart activist within the global feminism and lesbian rights movements.

In short, her accomplishments and commitment to making art that matters makes her an ideal visiting artist (MFA in Film) here at California College of the Arts.

Before she was born, Parmar’s family emigrated from India to East Africa, and then later immigrated to London, where she was raised and went on to study at Bradford and Birmingham Universities where she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, respectively.

Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 by Jim Norrena

(inset l-r) Emi Watanabe, Kyaligaba Frank, and Andrew Maxwell-Parish

California College of the Arts Hybrid Lab manager Andrew Maxwell-Parish spent his holiday break far away from the college, helping a community he’d never met before. 

After crowd-sourcing funds from friends and family in order to travel to Kampala, Uganda, he and his "instructables" colleague Emi Watanabe flew half-way around the globe to meet Paola de Cecco, who is in charge of the 3D printers owned by local Kampala-based nonprofit, Village Energy. 

Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 by Lindsey Westbrook

On a crystal-clear June evening in summer 2013, the sun is setting in Marfa, Texas, and a dozen CCA students -- together with a dozen more students from two art schools in the Netherlands -- are settling into the evening rhythms of their tent city.

The tents are cozily nestled in the courtyard of a former officer’s club, long abandoned by the US military. Elsewhere in the building complex, an old bar has been converted into an ad hoc Internet lounge. A spookily empty ballroom houses a broken-down old piano. The kitchen has accommodated the making of many a communal dinner.

Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 by Lindsey Westbrook

"Japan totally blew my mind."

That's a typical comment from a student after returning from Doug Akagi's summer study-abroad trip to Japan. Akagi created the course -- titled "In Search of Emptiness and Wabi-Sabi" -- three years ago, and he has led it each summer since. It's often difficult for the students to put into words what the adventure means to them and their work.

"Most of them," Akagi observes, "have never experienced a metropolis like Tokyo or the sublime beauty of an ancient city like Kyoto. And I realize that the trip is expensive, with the tuition and the airfare and the incidentals. So I try to make it a trip of a lifetime.

"Leading 14 students to almost 30 venues in two different cities in 12 days without incident is a challenge, and exhausting. Dozens of subway, train, and bus rides, endless miles of walking, and counting heads at every juncture.”

But there is plenty of beauty and inspiration as a reward. And Akagi gets a profound kick out of showing off his old haunts from when he was a young graphic designer living and working in Tokyo and Kyoto.

Posted on Thursday, November 21, 2013 by Jim Norrena

(l-r) Film chair Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman

On Tuesday, November 26, 2013, the United Nations hosted a screening of Film chair Rob Epstein's and Jeffrey Friedman’s short film, The Battle of amfAR (Telling Pictures), which premiered at Sundance Film Festival. The film details the story of two very charismatic and powerful women who joined forces to create America’s first AIDS research foundation: Dr. Mathilde Krim and film legend Elizabeth Taylor.

The screening followed a discussion with Dr. Krim, and executive producer Kenneth Cole. The event was cohosted by the United Nations Creative Community Outreach Initiative, UNAIDS, and amfAR (American Foundation for AIDS Research).

Attendees of the event included heads of international AIDS organizations as well as members of various advocacy groups.

Posted on Monday, November 4, 2013 by Allison Byers

Lain Kay, is a cross disciplinary artist focused in the mystique of identity branding. Graduate of California College of the Arts with a BFA in painting and drawing, his senior work portrays multiples of himself acting out appropriated cliches within art history and nationalistic propaganda. Indicative of a tounge-and-cheek punk attitude; these aesthetics inform and modify more recent performance works.

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Posted on Monday, October 28, 2013 by Jim Norrena

Three members of the CCA community have been awarded the 2012 SECA Art Award (Society for the Encouragement of Contemporary Art), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's biennial award program honoring Bay Area artists:

Zarouhie Abdalian (MFA 2010); Oakland-based New Orleans native and installation artist

Josh Faught, Textiles, MFA faculty; St. Louis-born, San Francisco-based textile artist

Jonn Herschend, former faculty member and visiting artist; Missouri native and video artist

Considering the fact only four artists (of 250 recommended by Bay Area curators, gallerists, professors, previous winners, and SECA members) are selected to receive the SECA Art Award, it's fair to say CCA artists dominated the awards -- including the fact the exhibition was co-curated by alumna Tanya Zimbardo (Curatorial Practice 2005), the assistant curator of media arts at SFMOMA.

Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 by Molly Mitchell

Simin Eivazi (BFA Sculpture 2013)

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation announced in June that recent CCA alumna Simin Eivazi (BFA Sculpture 2013) was one of 20 scholars selected to receive the Graduate Arts Award for 2013.

The award provides each Jack Kent Cooke Scholar with funding up to $50,000 per year for up to three years to support graduate studies in visual arts, performance, or creative writing at accredited institutions in the United States or abroad.

Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 by Allison Byers

Encouraged by teachers, he began to write essays, including one about the humiliating time his father spent in prison for making illegal liquor during Prohibition. After graduating from high school — the first member of his family to do so — he served on a U.S. Navy minesweeper during the Korean War. He went on to college under the G.I. Bill, earning a bachelor's degree in fine arts from the California College of Arts and Crafts and a master's degree in fine arts from Cal State Sacramento, before finding his way into teaching high school.

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