Diversity News

Posted on Thursday, December 15, 2011 by Allison Byers

International students gather during orientation.

The number of international students at California College of the Arts has significantly increased in the past few years. For the fall 2011 semester alone, the college welcomed 123 new degree-seeking international students, and seven exchange students.

For some of these students, English is not their first language, they have never set foot in San Francisco, and are completely foreign to the culture typically found at an American art college. These students come to CCA to learn English as a second language (ESL), engage, and create, but often must overcome quite a few daunting challenges.

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Posted on Wednesday, December 7, 2011 by Jim Norrena

"During Sleep" installation, 10 beds, black wool, 2001 (Maison des Arts, Créteil, France) [photo: Sunhi Mang]

California College of the Arts, the San Francisco Mayor's Office of Protocol, and the San Francisco‐Osaka Sister City Association are pleased to present a special exhibition by San Francisco sister cities visiting artist Chiharu Shiota. Shiota is currently teaching at CCA as a Graduate Program in Fine Arts visiting faculty member, and was recently a guest lecturer for CCA's Design and Craft Lecture Series.

Shiota is a Japanese performance and installation artist now living in Berlin. She is best known for creating environments that are room-filling and monumental, yet delicate and poetic. She focuses on themes of remembrance and oblivion, dreaming and sleeping, traces of the past and childhood, and dealing with anxieties. Many of her installations involve impenetrable webs of black thread that enclose household and everyday objects: a burned-out piano, a wedding dress, a lady's mackintosh, sometimes even the sleeping artist herself.

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Posted on Thursday, December 1, 2011 by Christina Linden

Cristi paints addition details on his mural in Northern Ireland.

“In Northern Ireland,” says Pablo Cristi (MFA 2010), “everything is overtly political. If you want to know what a large percentage of the people think, read the walls.”

Anyone involved in cultural production today -- but especially those in public art -- hope more than anything that their work will be noticed and elicit meaningful audience reactions. In the case of a commissioned mural painted by Cristi and a few collaborators in Derry, Northern Ireland, the work fueled a vivid public debate. When petitions start circulating, well -- there’s your noticeable and meaningful reaction. And while the experience certainly put Cristi in the hot seat for a few tense weeks, he also deeply valued the public discussion and dissent motivated by the project.

Artists Collaborate

Cristi was one of four American artists -- the others were Sidd Joag (New York), Ernel Martinez (Philadelphia), and Man One (Los Angeles)—invited to Derry to do the mural commission and lead a series of classes and workshops in four different communities, each of which then had its own additional mural project. The Playhouse Derry-Londonderry organized their activity as part of an urban arts program called the What If? Project, which is part of a three-year initiative funded by the European Union Regional Development Fund called the International Culture Arts Network (ICAN). ICAN’s ambition is to bring “world-renowned artists to the counties at the interface of Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic” in order to “bridge barriers between current and formerly conflicted areas worldwide.”

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Posted on Friday, November 25, 2011 by Jim Norrena

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

"'A Great Day in San Francisco' is a picture of faculty, students, staff, alumni, and families and friends of the LGBT community at California College of the Arts," explains Painting/Drawing chair Kim Anno in reference to her latest project, a tribute to Art Kane's 1958 masterful photograph, "A Great Day in Harlem" (1958), that captured the historic gathering of 57 of the century's most influential jazz musicians on the steps of a Harlem brownstone.

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Posted on Wednesday, November 23, 2011 by Simon Hodgson

Lisa Mishima and Yvonne Mouser turn food into art at Sam's Movie Night

From painter to pastry chef, ceramicist to wine cellar owner, innovative CCA alumni are shaping creative niches across the world of food and drink.

Twenty people stand around a long butcher-block table. The lights above cast a pale glow on its surface, illuminating the ingredients piled in its recessed trough -- lemons, lettuce, flour, eggplants, bell peppers -- without lighting the faces of the diners. They are here for Hands On, a food-making experience in which they use their hands rather than utensils to create a three-course meal.

"Cooking is very much a form of art," says Lisa Mishima (Graphic Design 2005), who concocted Hands On together with her boss, Randall Stowell of the creative production company Autofuss, and friend Yvonne Mouser (Furniture 2006). "Both cooking and art involve concepting, crafting, and presenting a piece. But there is something about consuming one's creation that feels even more personal, immediate, and honest."

Initially, the guests are nervous, even clumsy. Flour falls to the floor. Slowly, the experimental chefs grow more confident. There are giggles around the room, then nods of approval as the dishes take shape. The menu features Caesar salad, handmade pasta with pesto sauce, and tiramisu. Some diners shape vegetables into utensils and use those instead of spoons or spatulas. Maybe there will be a meal at the end of this.

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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, 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 Wednesday, October 26, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

Jens Hoffmann leads CCA Curator's Forum tour of Istanbul Biennial (Kris Martin's work in foreground) (photo: George Jewett)

The Istanbul Biennial is a key event in the international contemporary art scene -- a highly visible, highly respected exhibition that draws more than 100,000 visitors to the city and exposes them to some of the most engaged and relevant art being made today. In its opening week, the 12th Istanbul Biennial (which remains open through November 13) was attended by almost 4,000 guests, including critics, curators, museum and gallery administrators, and approximately 400 members of the press from 50 different countries. Everything they saw (whether they realized it or not) bore the marks of a CCA affiliate's hand -- specifically two CCA curators, one CCA graphic designer, and one CCA editor. They also saw the work of one faculty member and three alumni; all three alumni had entire galleries devoted to their work.

CCA President Stephen Beal, chair of the Board of Trustees F. Noel Perry, other trustees, and several members of the CCA Curator's Forum (a dedicated group of Wattis Institute supporters) flew to Istanbul for the opening weekend. Stephen Beal remarked, standing at the biennial entrance, "It is very gratifying to see the college so prominently represented here. It is evidence of the major relevance, at the international level, of what we are doing, and the kinds of experiences and access that CCA makes available to its community."

The Curators

It was almost two years ago that Wattis Institute director Jens Hoffmann accepted the invitation to co-curate the 12th Istanbul Biennial. Beginning with that moment, what began as a single thread of connection between the college and the city of Istanbul expanded into a densely packed web involving multiple individuals.

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Posted on Wednesday, October 12, 2011 by Chris Bliss

Film faculty member Lynn Marie Kirby with students at CAFA

What began in 2008 as a visit by CCA President Stephen Beal to the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing is now blossoming into a productive relationship between the two schools. This fall CCA enrolled six more undergraduate students from CAFA’s International Foundation Course; they join the first four students who began their studies at CCA in fall 2010.

In the first foray into faculty exchanges, David Hisaya Asari (Graphic Design) and Lynn Marie Kirby (Film) spent spring break 2011 at CAFA. An IFC instructor visited CCA in August. And Furniture faculty member Christopher Loomis is in Beijing now teaching for the semester.

What inspired this relationship between the two schools and what are the plans for the future?

Laying the Groundwork

In October 2008 President Beal was invited to participate in a forum on international art education, as part of CAFA's 90th anniversary celebration. He was impressed with the 4,000-student institution and its leaders, many of whom have ties with U.S. institutions. President Pang Gongkai was a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley. Vice President Xu Bing, well-known artist and recipient of the prestigious MacArthur “genius” award, lived and worked in New York for more than 10 years. Dean of Design Min Wang completed his graduate work in design at Yale and worked for more than 20 years in the United States, including a stint at Adobe before forming his own firm in San Francisco.

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Posted on Monday, September 12, 2011 by Simon Hodgson

Photo: Bryan and Vita Hewitt Photography

“Wouldn’t it be amazing to learn the craft of writing from Kim Addonizio at a dive bar? Or from devorah major at the Church of John Coltrane? Or from Paul Hoover at the Crucible!”

These are the enthusiastic musings of Myron Michael (MFA Writing 2006), a poet, teacher, recording artist, and proprietor of the micro label Rondeau Records. “I’m envisioning an annual festival of free neighborhood writing workshops taught by performers, poets, and thespians. It would cover everything from semantic poetry to phonetic poetry—poetry and dance, poetry and photography. Slam, sonnets, spoken word, songwriting, rondeaus, rap. It’s all poetry.”

Based in Oakland, Michael is also the founder of the poetry publication project Move or Die and curator of the monthly reading series HELIOTROPE. In August he will join other ambitious emerging poets and novelists at the week-long Postgraduate Writers’ Conference at Vermont College of Fine Arts. He has already attended the annual conference twice, the first time as a student, the second as a work-study scholar. This year he returns as the resident emcee. The conference is an immersion experience, offering the chance to hone his craft not only in manuscript building, but also in organizational skills, as he pursues his goal of one day directing a writing conference or festival.

“Writing builds bridges.”

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